Published: Wed, December 06, 2017
Economy | By Shawn Conner

Higher Oil Prices Widen US Trade Deficit

Higher Oil Prices Widen US Trade Deficit

Good coming into the USA from China, Mexico and the European Union all hit record levels, which boosted the trade gap to $48.7 billion - from $44.9 billion in September- and is the highest since President Trump took office in January.

Exports to China, meanwhile, were the highest in nearly four years, at US$13 billion.

"The October trade balance report was weaker than we had anticipated, and coupled with the downward revision to September's trade balance, implies a lower contribution from the net exports sub-component to Q4 GDP growth", said Barclays in a research report.

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Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit increased $49.1 billion, or 11.9%, from the same period in 2016.

Increased volumes of goods imports accounted for the bulk of the worsening, rising by $3.5bn to reach $199.4bn, with those of crude oil jumping by $1.5bn.

Other highlights in overall global trade of the USA last month include the highest imports on record from China, from Mexico, and from the European Union. Imports increased $146.6 billion or 6.5%.

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October imports were $244.6 billion, $3.8 billion more than September imports.

In exports, U.S. October exports to China were the highest since December 2013, exports to Mexico were the highest since October 2014, and exports to Brazil were the highest since October 2014.

The politically sensitive trade deficit in goods with China rose 1.7 percent to $35.2 billion from September to October and is up 7 percent this year to $309 billion. US exports to China increased $2.2 billion to $13.0 billion, primarily driven by soybeans and crude oil. The previous month's trade deficit was revised to C$3.36 billion from the earlier estimate of C$3.18 billion.

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