US Trade Deficit Reaches 10-Year High

The U.S. trade deficit widened to USD 55.5 billion in October of 2018 from an upwardly revised USD 54.6 billion in the previous month and compared with market expectations of a USD 54.9 billion gap. It is the highest deficit since October of 2008 as lower soybean sales weighed down on exports and imports reached a new record high.

Total exports edged down 0.1 percent month-over-month to USD 211.05 billion. Exports of goods decreased USD 0.4 billion to USD 141.5 billion, led by foods, feeds, and beverages (USD -0.7 billion), namely soybeans (USD -0.8 billion); capital goods (USD -0.5 billion), namely civilian aircraft engines (USD -0.3 billion) and civilian aircraft (USD -0.3 billion). On the other hand, other goods increased USD 0.5 billion and industrial supplies and materials rose USD 0.3 billion. Exports of services went up USD 0.1 billion to USD 69.6 billion in October: financial services increased USD 0.1 billion; other business services, which includes research and development services; professional and management services; and technical, trade-related, and other services, rose USD 0.1 billion. Transport decreased USD 0.1 billion. 

According to unadjusted data, exports fell to China (-6.7 percent), but rose to Canada (6.3 percent), Mexico (15.1 percent), the EU (2.6 percent), Japan (2.3 percent), Brazil (19.2 percent) and OPEC (2.6 percent).

Total imports advanced 0.2 percent to USD 266.5 billion, hitting a new record high. Imports of goods increased USD 0.5 billion to USD 219.6 billion, mainly due to consumer goods (USD 2 billion), namely pharmaceutical preparations (USD 1.5 billion); other goods (USD 0.8 billion); and automotive vehicles, parts, and engines (USD 0.7 billion. On the other hand, purchases fel for capital goods (USD -3.2 billion), namely telecommunications equipment (USD -1.0 billion), computer accessories USD -0.8 billion) and computers (USD -0.7 billion). Imports of services increased USD 0.2 billion to USD 46.9 billion in October. Travel (for all purposes including education) rose USD 0.2 billion.

According to unadjusted data, imports increased from all main partners: China (4.4 percent), Canada (6.4 percent), Mexico (9.3 percent), the EU (20.3 percent), Japan 823 percent), Brazil (19 percent) and OPEC (8.7 percent). 

The goods deficit with China jumped to a record high of USD 43.1 billion from USD 40.2 billion. The trade gap also widened with the EU (USD 17.6 billion from USD 10.6 billion), Japan (USD 6.2 billion from USD 3.9 billion), OPEC (USD 6.5 billion from USD 1.9 billion) and Canada (USD 1.9 billion from USD 1.8 billion) but narrowed with Mexico (USD 7.2 billion from USD 7.7 billion).

Considering the first ten months of the year, the goods and services deficit increased USD 51.3 billion, or 11.4 percent, from the same period in 2017. Exports went up USD 149.3 billion or 7.7 percent. Imports rose USD 200.6 billion or 8.4 percent.

US Trade Deficit Reaches 10-Year High

BEA | Joana Taborda |
12/6/2018 1:57:37 PM