U.S. Trade Deficit Widens to Record on Consumer-Goods Imports
(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. trade deficit widened to a record in August, reflecting a pickup in the value of imports of consumer goods and industrial supplies.
The gap in trade of goods and services increased 4.2% to $73.3 billion, from a revised $70.3 billion in July, according to Commerce Department data released Tuesday. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists was for a shortfall of $70.8 billion.
The value of goods and services imports rose 1.4% to a record $287 billion in August. The U.S. imported $3 billion more consumer goods during the month, mostly due to pharmaceuticals and toys, games and sporting goods. Exports climbed 0.5% to $213.7 billion.
While a surge in household demand for merchandise earlier this year and steady business demand for equipment have left inventories extremely lean, the reopening of the economy is gradually boosting demand for services.
At the same time, domestic producers have struggled to ramp up output because logistics bottlenecks have knocked global supply chains out of sync, resulting in backups at ports, a wide range of materials shortages, and soaring shipping rates.
- The merchandise-trade deficit widened to $89.4 billion from $87.8 billion
- The nation’s surplus in services trade decreased to $16.2 billion, the smallest since the end of 2011
- Travel imports, a measure of Americans traveling abroad, increased to $6.2 billion, a pandemic high though still half typical levels
- U.S. merchandise exports climbed to a fresh record of $149.7 billion, driven by industrial supplies
- The value of motor vehicles and parts imports fell $1.5 billion
- The value of petroleum imports advanced to $3.8 billion, while chemical imports climbed to $3.3 billion
- On an inflation-adjusted basis, the August merchandise-trade deficit climbed to $101.8 billion
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