US trade deficit steady at $55.2bn in June as exports sink

Shoaib Ur Rehman August 2, 2019

WASHINGTON: America’s mammoth trade deficit held steady in June as foreign demand for US goods and services weakened across the board, according to government data released Friday.

The falling exports and deteriorating trade picture comes as President Donald Trump intensifies his trade war with China, and Beijing vows to retaliate, which economists say is helping to weaken global growth and international commerce.

The US trade gap dipped a token 0.3 percent to $55.2 billion last month, with exports falling faster than imports amid a general decline in trade, according to the Commerce Department report.

Analysts had expected a slightly larger decline.

The deficit in the first half of 2019 is 7.9 percent higher than the same period last year and could weigh on GDP growth in the second quarter.

The deficit with China, Trump’s greatest source of ire, was largely unchanged at $30.2 billion, leaving it down 10.3 percent in the first half of 2019.

The US trade picture dimmed overall in June as exports of passenger cars, gems and computer accessories all fell, as did sales of telecommunications equipment, industrial machinery and jewelry.

The deficit with Mexico also continued to rise, hitting $9.2 billion, its highest monthly level since at least as far back as January 2009, with exports across the southern border falling faster than imports. That deficit has risen more than 35 percent this year.

Trade with the European Union weakened as imports fell, driving the deficit down 5.9 percent to $15.9 billion.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Press), 2019
 

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