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Trade Deficit Declines as Trump Blames G-20 Partners

Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The U.S. monthly trade deficit in goods and services declined 2.3 percent in May to $46.5 billion. Exports rose 0.5 percent to $192.0 billion, their highest level in two years, and imports slipped 0.1 percent to $238.5 billion.

For the year to date the U.S. trade deficit is up 13.1 percent over the same period in 2016 as imports (7.3 percent) have risen faster than exports (6.0 percent). Individual deficits with major trading partners such as China, Canada, and Mexico are larger over that time as well, press sources note. Those countries are among the G-20 members whom President Trump reportedly blamed at a recent summit for being “largely responsible” for the U.S. trade deficit.

According to Commerce Department statistics, the politically sensitive deficit in goods trade fell 1.3 percent in May to $67.5 billion. Imports of goods were down 0.3 percent to $194.7 billion, including decreases of $900 million for cell phones and other household goods and $1.3 billion for passenger cars along with a $500 million increase for computers. Exports of goods were up 0.2 percent to $127.2 billion, including increases of $500 million for cell phones and other household goods and $400 million for passenger cars as well as a $600 million decrease for soybeans.

The services surplus was up 0.1 percent to $21.0 billion. Imports rose 0.1 percent to $43.8 billion and exports were up 0.1 percent to $64.8 billion.

Country/region

Deficit

% Change

Surplus

% Change

China

$30.1 billion

-6.2

   

European Union

$10.7 billion

-18.9

   

Mexico

$6.8 billion

+6.3

   

Japan

$6.4 billion

+28.0

   

Germany

$4.7 billion

-14.5

   

Italy

$2.4 billion

-20.0

   

Canada

$2.0 billion

-15.4

   

India

$2.0 billion

+25.0

   

Taiwan

$1.7 billion

+30.8

   

France

$1.7 billion

+41.7

   

South Korea

$0.8 billion

-20.0

   

Saudi Arabia

$0.2 billion

Unchanged

   

South/Central America

   

$2.4 billion

-11.1

Hong Kong

   

$2.3 billion

+15.0

Singapore

   

$0.8 billion

-11.1

Brazil

   

$0.8 billion

+166.7

United Kingdom

   

$0.7 billion

+250.0

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