US TRADE Deficit widens by $46.3B in June


Associated Press

WASHINGTON

The U.S. trade deficit widened in June for the first time in four months as exports fell and imports grew. Politically sensitive trade gaps with China, Mexico and Canada all increased.

The Commerce Department said Friday the deficit in goods and services – the gap between what the U.S. sells and what it buys from other countries – rose 7.3 percent to $46.3 billion in June from $43.2 billion in May. U.S. exports slid 0.7 percent to $213.8 billion; imports rose 0.6 percent to $260.2 billion, led by increases in medicine and crude oil.

The United States ran goods deficits in June of $33.5 billion with China, up 0.9 percent from May; $7.4 billion with Mexico, up 10.5 percent; and $2 billion with Canada, up 39.7 percent.

In the first half of the year, the United States has registered a trade deficit in goods and services of $291.2 billion, up 7.2 percent from January-June 2017.

President Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to bring down the gap, which he views as a sign of economic weakness resulting from bad trade deals and abusive behavior by U.S. trading partners like China and Mexico.

But his efforts have so far failed to contain the deficit.

Mainstream economists blame persistent deficits on an economic reality that can’t be changed much by trade policy: Americans spend more than they produce, and imports fill the gap.

In June, the U.S. posted a surplus of $22.5 billion in the trade of services (banking and education), but that was offset by a $68.8 billion deficit in the trade of goods.

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