Wednesday, 25 April, 2018

U.S. trade deficit widest for decade

The Maersk ship Adrian Maersk is seen as it departs from New York Harbor in New York Canada's trade deficit widens to $2.7B in February
Andy Castillo | 06 April, 2018, 04:25

Amid an intensified trade dispute with China, America's monthly deficit with the country fell... Imports and exports both registered gains of 1.7 per cent.

At 9:43 a.m. EDT (1343 GMT), the Canadian dollar was trading almost unchanged at $1.2772 to the greenback, or 78.30 US cents.

Even before the metal tariffs took effect with exceptions for a number of trading partners, the fees were already making business more hard for United States manufacturers and other buyers.

"We believe March data should be stronger", he said by phone.

Several categories of iron and steel imports showed gains in February, according to the trade report.

Washington and Beijing have threatened in recent days to put import duties on about $50 billion of each other's exports - with the Chinese targeting politically sensitive USA goods such as soybeans and the Americans pointing to high-end manufactured items in the aerospace, auto, pharmaceutical and other sectors. Inbound shipments also included jumps in aircraft, pharmaceutical preparations and furniture and household goods. In real, or volume terms, exports rose by 0.6 percent. Improving global growth and a weaker dollar have been supporting overseas sales of American-made goods. As a result, the trade surplus with the United States shrank to $2.58 billion from $2.93 billion in January. The White House is seeking to cut US$100 billion, or about 25 per cent, from the annual deficit with China.

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The U.S. trade deficit rose for the sixth straight month in February, reaching the highest level since October 2008 and defying President Donald Trump's efforts to rebalance America's lopsided trade with the rest of the world.

The figures suggest trade may reduce the pace of economic growth in the first quarter, after it was a substantial drag on the economy in the final three months of 2017.

Meanwhile, imports grew 1.9 percent on a 15.4-percent surge in shipments of energy products due to higher demand for crude oil and crude bitumen. The nation's trade deficit with the remainder of the world widened to CAD 5.3 billion with exports down 4.2 percent and imports dropping 0.6 percent.

"The US continues to expand faster than most other industrialized countries, so it should not surprise anyone that the trade deficit is worsening", economist Joel Naroff said in a client note.

Trump worries about the trade deficit - should we?

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