US trade gap widens to 10-year high

The Korea Times - - WORLD -

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.

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