Background

The U.S. trade deficit in goods and services rose 1.6 percent in October as imports and exports both increased for the fifth straight month.

According to trade statistics released Dec. 4 by the Department of Commerce, the monthly trade deficit of $63.1 billion reflected a 2.2 percent increase in exports to $182.0 billion and a 2.1 percent increase in imports to $245.1 billion. The year-to-date deficit was up 9.5 percent from October 2019 as exports fell 16.4 percent and imports dropped 11.5 percent.

The deficit in goods trade edged up 0.7 percent from September to $81.4 billion. Imports of goods rose 2.1 percent to $207.8 billion, including increases of $1.1 billion in cell phones and other household goods, $600 million in computer accessories, and $500 million in non-monetary gold. Exports of goods were up 3.0 percent to $126.3 billion, including increases of $700 million in civilian aircraft engines, $500 million in natural gas, and $400 million each in organic chemicals and semiconductors.

The services surplus dropped 2.1 percent to $18.3 billion, which one press article noted was the lowest since August 2012. Imports rose 1.9 percent to $37.4 billion and exports gained 0.5 percent to $55.7 billion.

Monthly changes in U.S. trade deficits or surpluses with specific trading partners in October included the following.

 

Country/region

Deficit

% Change

Surplus

% Change

China

$26.5 billion

+9.1

 

 

European Union

$15.6 billion

-9.2

 

 

Mexico

$11.8 billion

+10.3

 

 

Japan

$5.7 billion

+1.8

 

 

Germany

$5.2 billion

-7.1

 

 

South Korea

$3.0 billion

+36.4

 

 

India

$2.6 billion

-3.7

 

 

Italy

$2.5 billion

-7.4

 

 

Canada

$1.3 billion

-7.1

 

 

France

$0.9 billion

-18.2

 

 

Singapore

<$0.1 billion

Shift from $0.3 billion surplus

 

 

South/Central America

 

 

$2.2 billion

-12.0

Hong Kong

 

 

$1.9 billion

+35.7

United Kingdom

 

 

$1.3 billion

+62.5

Saudi Arabia

 

 

$0.7 billion

+250.0

Brazil

 

 

$0.5 billion

-54.5

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