US Trade Deficit Rises in August

American flag at the start of a work day at the Oculus part of the World Trade Center

With the value of imports rising by more than the value of exports, the Commerce Department released a report on Friday showing the USA trade deficit widened by more than anticipated in the month of August.

The goods deficit with China dropped 3.1% in August to $31.8 billion and is down 11.4% so far this year.

The overall US trade deficit on Friday widened to 54.9 billion USA dollars in August amid protracted trade tensions, its figures showed. The increase was driven by an explosion of imported consumer goods along with new tariffs against China and Europe.

In August, the United States recorded a $74.4 billion deficit in the trade of goods such as cars and appliances. "Imports increased $25.1 billion or 1.2 percent". Companies, cognizant of looming price increases, tend to import more before announced tariffs take effect.

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That was up from the revised 54 billion dollars in July and higher than economists' expectation for 54.4 billion dollars, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

The August figures also showed a deepening decline in goods exchanged with China, Mexico and the European Union. Additional levies went into effect on September 1, with others set to rise or take effect October 15 and December 15. The services surplus was the lowest since February 2016; services imports hit a record $49.8 billion in August. Excluding petroleum, the goods trade deficit widened to $72.7 billion.

Exports and imports of goods account for about three-fourths of America's total trade; the USA typically runs a deficit in merchandise trade and a surplus in services.

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