US Posts Largest Trade Deficit in Over 9 Years

The US trade deficit widened sharply to USD 56.6 billion in January 2018 from a revised USD 53.9 billion in the previous month and above market expectations of USD 55.1 billion. It was the biggest trade gap since October 2008.

Imports of goods and services to the US were unchanged at an all-time high of USD 257.5 billion in January. Goods imports declined USD 0.2 billion to USD 210.7 billion, due to lower purchases of: capital goods (down USD 1.3 billion), of which civilian aircraft (down USD 0.9 billion) and semiconductors (down USD 0.5 billion); and consumer goods (down USD 0.9 billion), of which cell phones and other household goods (down USD 1.2 billion). Imports of industrial supplies and materials increased USD 2.0 billion, mainly boosted by crude oil (up USD 2.2 billion). On the other hand, imports of services went up USD 0.2 billion to USD 46.8 billion.

Exports of goods and services from the US fell USD 2.7 billion, or 1.3 percent, from the previous month to USD 200.9 billion in January. Goods exports decreased by USD 3.0 billion to USD 134.2 billion, as sales fell for: capital goods (down USD 2.6 billion), of which civilian aircraft (down USD 1.8 billion); industrial supplies and materials (down USD 1.3 billion), of which fuel oil (down USD 0.5 billion), crude oil (down USD 0.2 billion) and other chemicals (down 0.2 billion); and other goods (down USD 1.0 billion). Exports of consumer goods, however, increased USD 1.2 billion, boosted by artwork, antiques, stamps, and other collectibles (up USD 0.5 billion); and pharmaceutical preparations (up USD 0.4 billion). Exports of services went up USD 0.3 billion to USD 66.7 billion in January. 

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, imports rose from Mexico (3.4 percent), Canada (3.2 percent) and China (2.9 percent), but fell from the EU (-9.1 percent) and Japan (-5.5 percent). Exports dropped to China (-28.1 percent), Japan (-12.2 percent), the EU (-6.1 percent) and Canada (-2.6 percent), but rose to Mexico (10.6 percent).

The politically sensitive trade deficit with China surged 16.7 percent to USD 36.0 billion (vs USD 30.8 billion in December), the biggest since September 2015. The deficit with Canada was USD 3.6 billion (vs 2.2 billion in January), the largest in three years. Meanwhile, the trade deficit narrowed with the EU (USD 13.6 billion vs USD 15.8 billion) and Mexico (USD 4.1 billion vs  USD 5.4 billion) while that with Japan was almost unchanged at USD 5.7 billion. 

US Posts Largest Trade Deficit in Over 9 Years

BEA | Joana Ferreira |
3/7/2018 2:22:20 PM