Background

The monthly U.S. trade deficit in goods and services fell for the fifth straight month in August as both imports and exports declined. However, press reports note that the trade deficit with Vietnam hit a record high and the deficit with China was the largest in nearly four years.

According to statistics from the Department of Commerce, imports fell 1.1 percent from July to August, to $326.3 billion. Imports of goods were down 1.5 percent to $270.1 billion, with decreases of $2.7 billion for crude oil, $700 million for fuel oil, and $500 million for semiconductors along with a $1.6 billion increase for passenger cars. Imports of services rose 0.7 percent to $56.2 billion. For the year-to-date, total imports were up 21.0 percent from August 2021.

Exports slipped 0.3 percent to $258.9 billion. Exports of goods were down 0.4 percent, with decreases of $2 billion for non-monetary gold, $1.1 billion for passenger cars, and $1 billion for crude oil along with a $1.4 billion increase for natural gas. Services exports were basically unchanged at $76.4 billion. For the year-to-date, total exports were up 19.9 percent from a year earlier.

With both exports and imports down, the monthly U.S. trade deficit fell 4.4 percent in August to $67.4 billion. The deficit in goods trade declined 3.7 percent to $87.6 billion and the services trade surplus slipped 1.9 percent to $20.2 billion. For the year-to-date, the overall trade deficit was up 24.4 percent from August 2021.

Country/region

Deficit

% Change

Surplus

% Change

China

$33.5 billion

+1.5

 

 

European Union

$13.5 billion

+13.4

 

 

Mexico

$9.8 billion

-16.2

 

 

Vietnam

$9.6 billion

-4.0

 

 

Canada

$7.4 billion

-14.9

 

 

Ireland

$5.2 billion

+23.8

 

 

Germany

$5.0 billion

-2.0

 

 

Taiwan

$4.0 billion

-13.0

 

 

Italy

$4.0 billion

+73.9

 

 

Japan

$3.6 billion

-34.5

 

 

India

$3.1 billion

-16.2

 

 

South Korea

$3.1 billion

-13.9

 

 

Malaysia

$2.5 billion

-13.8

 

 

France

$0.9 billion

+12.5

 

 

Saudi Arabia

$0.6 billion

-53.8

 

 

Israel

$0.6 billion

0

 

 

Switzerland

$0.5 billion

Change from $2.1 billion surplus

 

 

South/Central America

 

 

$7.1 billion

-4.1

Netherlands

 

 

$4.2 billion

+16.7

Hong Kong

 

 

$2.3 billion

0

Singapore

 

 

$1.7 billion

-34.6

United Kingdom

 

 

$1.2 billion

-29.4

Australia

 

 

$1.1 billion

-15.4

Brazil

 

 

$1.0 billion

-28.5

Belgium

 

 

$0.5 billion

-58.3

 

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