With imports rising and exports edging lower, the Commerce Department released a report on Tuesday showing the United States trade deficit widened more than expected in the month of October.
October imports were $244.6 billion, $3.8 billion more than September imports. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a narrower deficit of $47.5 billion. A rising trade gap reduces USA economic growth. Economists attribute the chronic trade deficit the US has faced for decades to Americans consuming more than they produce relative to the rest of the world's economies. He blames them on bad trade deals and abusive practices by China and other trade partners.
Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit increased $49.1 billion, or 11.9%, from the same period in 2016. In volume, or price-adjusted, terms, exports rose 1.2% while imports decreased 3.9%, or the sharpest decline in a year.
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. But that was overwhelmed by a $69.1 billion deficit in the trade of goods.
Historically speaking, the USA imports more good than it exports, but runs a modest trade surplus for services. Imports of drilling and oilfield equipment climbed by $304 million, and imports of cellphones rose by $303 million.
Meanwhile, imports fell 1.6 per cent to $45.9 billion in October, mainly due to a drop in motor vehicles and parts.