US trade gap widens to 10-year high
WASHINGTON (AFP) — The U.S. trade deficit hit a 10-year high in October as Americans used a stronger dollar to snap up record imports, the government reported Thursday.
The result showed the trade gap has continued to swell despite the punitive tariffs imposed this year on allies and adversaries alike by President Donald Trump, who has who has sought to shrink deficits he blames for job losses.
And that is likely to subtract from growth in the final quarter of 2018, economists say.
Amid Trump’s high-stakes trade war with Beijing, the total trade gap rose 1.7 percent to $55.5 billion, driven by all-time high imports, according to the Commerce Department.
The deficit in goods trade with China likewise continued to expand, rising two percent to $38 billion, seasonally adjusted, as key exports like soybeans fell.
Without seasonal adjustments, the U.S.-China goods trade gap hit an all-time record of $43.1 billion.
Washington and Beijing have exchanged steep tariffs on more than $300 billion in total two-way trade, locking them in a bitter conflict that has so far roiled industry and begun to eat into profits.
With markets increasingly unnerved by the uncertainty surrounding the trade war, the two economic powers last week agreed to a 90-day truce while they seek to resolve Trump’s complaints of unfair trade practices — complaints shared by the European Union, Japan and others.