Wednesday, 12 May 2021 11:09 GMT

U.S. trade deficit surges to record shortfall with China keeps rising

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The U.S. trade deficit hit a fresh record high in March as consumers flush with government cash spurred a continuing demand for foreign-made goods. With a new round of $1,400 stimulus checks pouring in and the domestic economy continuing to show substantial improvement, the imbalance in goods and services with the rest of the world swelled to $74.4 billion, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. That's the highest level ever in a data series that goes back to January 1992, and represents a 57.6% increase from the same period a year ago and higher than the $70.5 billion in February. The trade imbalance with China increased more than 22% to $36.9 billion. The deficit with Mexico rose 23.5% to $8.4 billion.

Exports actually increased for the month, rising $200 billion or 6.6%. But that was offset by a continued demand for imported goods, which increased 6.3% or $274.5 billion. The deficit has risen nearly 10% in 2021 alone and has exploded from the $47.2 billion level in March 2020, just as the U.S. was entering the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. Imports in 2021 have increased by 8.5% while exports have fallen 3.5%.

For March, imports rose the most in consumer goods, which increased $4.5 billion, including a $1.2 billion rise in textile apparel and household goods. Industrial supplies and materials imports rose $3.7 billion and capital goods were up $3.3 billion. Industrial supplies and materials led exports with a $5.2 billion increase, while capital goods were up $2.9 billion and consumer goods rose $2 billion.

U.S. trade deficit surges to record; shortfall with China keeps rising, CNBC, May 5


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