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U.S. Trade Deficit Widened to Record in June

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August 5, 2021

By Vince Golle (Bloomberg) —

The U.S. trade deficit widened to a record in June, consistent with a rush by domestic importers to meet business investment and household spending.

The gap in trade of goods and services grew 6.7% to $75.7 billion, according to Commerce Department data released Thursday. That exceeded the median estimate for a shortfall of $74.2 billion in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

The value of goods and services imports increased 2.1% to $283.4 billion in June, driven in part by inbound shipments of higher-priced petroleum products. Exports rose 0.6% to $207.7 billion.

Trade was a drag on second-quarter economic growth, shaving 0.44 percentage point from gross domestic product, government figures showed last week. Net exports have subtracted from GDP for the last four quarters as the U.S. made headway recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.

The surge in consumer demand, along with steady business spending on equipment, has left inventories extremely lean. 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.

Digging Deeper

  • The merchandise trade deficit grew to $93.2 billion, also the largest on record
  • The nation’s surplus in services trade decreased to $17.4 billion
  • The value of motor vehicles and parts imports fell by $704 million to $28.5 billion, while exports increased by $195 million to $11.6 billion
  • The value of petroleum imports rose to $17.4 billion
  • On an inflation-adjusted basis, the June merchandise trade deficit increased to $105.2 billion

–With assistance from Jordan Yadoo, Peyton Forte and Sophie Caronello.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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