US Commerce Department Reports $621 Billion Trade Deficit, Highest in 10 Years

Trump dealt blow as US trade deficit jumps
US trade deficit hits 10-year high as Trump trade wars backfire
Author

08 March, 2019

The latest report revealed that the trade deficit with China in December was $38.7 billion, by far the highest of any nation. 'The administration's fiscal policies have helped to boost the trade deficit'. Roughly about as well as making Mexico pay for that big new wall the president is having such trouble building.

The trade deficit in December was driven by 1.9 percent drop in exports of goods and services to a 10-month low of 205.1 billion USA dollars.

Economists don't like to dwell too much on the United States trade balance. The trade deficit for goods and merchandise set a new record of $891 billion. Their research also revealed that workers in many Republican-leaning counties suffered the most economically from Trump's trade disputes. Trump has complained that a stronger dollar has weakened his hand in his trade wars and put a damper on U.S. growth. Partly yes, but mainly no.

The gap worsened because Americans bought more household appliances, cell phones and computer products from overseas, while foreign demand for civilian aircraft and oil products declined, dragging down US exports. Why has it done that? This looks like a smoking gun over tariff tensions with China which may well have cut back its USA purchases.

He has picked trade wars the world over, with friends and foes alike. Beijing's longstanding policy of subsidizing its own businesses and charges that it illicitly obtains USA technology remain key obstacles. "Imports increased $217.7 billion, or 7.5 percent", the report reads.

Would he really prefer that the USA economy not be humming? Computer imports also increased 0.7 billion US dollars.

Donald Trump imposed tariffs previous year on foreign steel, aluminum and Chinese products in the belief that these import taxes would ultimately reduce the trade imbalance.

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But in 2018, the USA exported fewer goods compared with how much it bought. And that's the real "problem" in all this.

Mr Trump warned in December that if the two countries failed to reach an agreement on trade, he would take action, dubbing himself "a Tariff Man". Advocates of a compromise with China have also told Trump it is crucial to cut a deal soon to reap the full boost ahead of the election because benefits such as more Chinese purchases of USA soybeans and other products will have a delayed impact and take time to reverberate through the economy, they said. Future economic historians will carefully weigh all the evidence on whether there really has been a Trump bump in economic activity, so come back in 30 years for the definitive answer.

Mr McKinney said he did not know of any firm plans for a USA delegation to go back to China for further negotiations but added that such a trip would not come as a surprise.

But if your economy is growing faster than your trading partners' economies, you're going to suck in imports faster than they will.

The U.S. house of cards is getting shaky. And what's going on in the USA macroeconomy under Trump is not a bad thing, it's a good thing.

For 2018 as a whole, the deficit grew to $621 billion - the highest since 2008, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Nothing bad happens that he doesn't have an answer for, usually a smart-ass one. European Union trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom traveled to Washington this week to meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to advance some sort of long-term trade pact.


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