Background

U.S. import volumes surged in November despite ongoing supply chain snarls, while exports lagged amid reports of carriers refusing shipments from the U.S. to foreign customers.

According to statistics from the Department of Commerce, imports jumped 4.6 percent from October to November to $304.4 billion as importers rushed to stock shelves for holiday season purchases. Imports of goods were up 5.1 percent to a record-high $254.9 billion, including increases of $1.5 billion in finished metal shapes, $1.3 billion in crude oil, and $900 million in passenger cars. Imports of services rose 2.3 percent to $49.5 billion. For the year-to-date, total imports were up 20.7 percent from November 2020.

Exports, however, edged up only 0.2 percent for the month to $224.2 billion. All of that increase was accounted for by services exports, which gained 4.9 percent to $68.3 billion. Exports of goods fell 1.8 percent to $155.9 billion, including decreases of $1.4 billion in non-monetary gold, $400 million in crude oil, and $400 million in other industrial machines. For the year-to-date, total exports were up 18.2 percent from a year earlier.

With the increase in imports far outpacing that of exports, the monthly U.S. trade deficit soared 19.3 percent in November to $80.2 billion, just below September’s record $81.5 billion. The deficit in goods trade was up 17.9 percent to $99.0 billion while the services trade surplus gained 12.6 percent to $18.8 billion. For the year-to-date the overall trade deficit was up 28.6 percent from November 2020.

Country/region

Deficit

% Change

Surplus

% Change

China

$28.4 billion

+0.4

 

 

European Union

$19.4 billion

+16.9

 

 

Mexico

$11.0 billion

+13.4

 

 

Germany

$6.1 billion

+7.0

 

 

Canada

$5.4 billion

+63.6

 

 

Taiwan

$4.0 billion

-7.0

 

 

Japan

$3.6 billion

0

 

 

Italy

$3.6 billion

+5.9

 

 

India

$3.0 billion

-3.2

 

 

South Korea

$2.2 billion

-18.5

 

 

France

$1.2 billion

-14.3

 

 

Saudi Arabia

$0.4 billion

+300

 

 

South/Central America

 

 

$4.5 billion

0

Hong Kong

 

 

$1.6 billion

-38.5

Brazil

 

 

$1.0 billion

-23.1

United Kingdom

 

 

$0.5 billion

-50.0

Singapore

 

 

$0.3 billion

-40.0

 

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