USA trade deficit rises on record imports from China

Reuters

Goods and services from China totaled $48.2 billion, while European Union imports amounted to $39.4 billion and Mexico's exports grew to $28.7 billion, which are all record highs.

The goods deficit with China increased from $34.6 billion in September to $35.2 billion in October.

The trade deficit increased to the highest since January and was above expectations of a Reuters poll of economists who had predicted the October deficit would stand at $47.5 billion.

Imports rose 1.6 per cent over September to US$244.6 billion, seasonally-adjusted, the highest since the Commerce Department began publishing the statistic in 1992.

To be sure, the export categories that dropped in October are typically volatile and prone to large swings from month to month, so soybeans or civilian aircraft exports could pick up again in 2017's remaining two months.

Trump, who has been highly critical of the USA trade deficit with China, shifted responsibility for the gap to previous US administrations for failing to crack down on China amid widening trade gaps.

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Good coming into the USA from China, Mexico and the European Union all hit record levels, which boosted the trade gap to $48.7 billion - from $44.9 billion in September- and is the highest since President Trump took office in January.

"The widening in the trade deficit in October was driven by a suspiciously large fall in food exports which is likely to be reversed next month..."

On the other hand, the Commerce Department said the value of exports edged down by less than a tenth of a % to USD195.9 billion.

Global trade data can be volatile from month to month. The overall trade deficit widened 11.9% so far this year compared with the same period in 2016.

He added, "Together with the depreciation of the dollar this year, we think export growth should rebound over the coming months, suggesting that net trade should be broadly neutral for economic growth next year".

The mounting trade deficit comes the administration of President Donald Trump enters the latter stages of fraught negotiations with Mexico and Canada to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement.

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