Commerce Department said on Friday the trade gap increased 8.7
percent to $44.5 billion in June, the biggest deficit since
August 2015. May's trade deficit was revised slightly down to
June marked the third straight month of increases in the
deficit. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the trade gap
widening to $43.1 billion in June after a previously reported
$41.1 billion shortfall. When adjusted for inflation, the
deficit rose to $64.7 billion from $60.9 billion in May.
The government in its snapshot of second-quarter gross domestic
product published last week said trade had contributed
two-tenths of a percentage point to the 1.2 percent annualized
growth pace during the period.
The dollar's sharp rally against the currencies of the United
States' main trading partners between June 2014 and December
2015 has undercut export growth.
With the dollar weakening this year on a trade-weighted basis,
some of the drag on exports had started to ebb. But the dollar
has been regaining strength in the wake of Britain's June 23
vote to leave the European Union, and economists say that could
renew pressure on exports.
Exports of goods and services edged up 0.3 percent in June.
Exports to the European Union jumped 7.8 percent, with goods
shipped to the United Kingdom soaring 18.2 percent. China bought
more U.S.-made goods in June, with exports to that country
rising 3.6 percent.
Imports of goods and services increased 1.9 percent to $227.7
billion in June, with oil prices accounting for part of the
rise. Oil prices averaged $39.38 per barrel in June, the highest
level since October of last year, from $34.19 in May.
The $5.19 increase in the average oil price in June from May was
the biggest since May 2011.
June's increase in imports also reflected a pickup in domestic
demand. Imports from China increased 2.8 percent. With imports
outpacing exports, the politically sensitive U.S.-China trade
deficit rose 2.5 percent to $29.8 billion in June, the biggest
gap since last November.
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