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The trade deficit got smaller in September as the US and China work toward tariff truce

運営事務局 JIMOPLE 121 November 5, 2019

The U.S. trade deficit with its global partners contracted to $52.5 billion in September as the White House continued its efforts to close the gap in goods and services, according to a Commerce Department report Tuesday.

The deficit was slightly above expectations of $52.2 billion, according to economists surveyed by Dow Jones. August's shortfall was just over $55 billion.

As the administration continues its efforts to close the first phase of a tariff deal with China, the trade balance remains 13.1% higher from the $46.4 billion level when President Donald Trump took office. Consumers continue to demand foreign goods amid a decadelong economic expansion.

On a year-over-year basis, the current trade deficit is 5.4% higher than the same period in 2018.

With the two sides working toward an agreement, the deficit with China fell 3.1% to $28 billion for the month.

Overall, exports declined $1.8 billion to $206 billion while imports also were down, dropping $4.4 billion to $258.4 billion. The U.S. recorded its first petroleum surplus, of $252 million, since 1978 as the nation continues to push its energy output.

Foods, feeds and beverage exports fell $1.5 billion due largely to a $1 billion drop in soybeans. Automotive exports also declined by $1 billion and capital goods increased by $800 million thanks to a collective $1.3 billion rise in aircraft-related products.

On the import side, consumer goods fell $2.5 billion as cellphones and other household goods dropped by $800 million and toys games and sporting goods declined by $600 million. Capital goods imports were off $1.1 billion on a $600 million reduction in semiconductors. Automotive imports were down $1.1 billion.

By nation and region, the largest surplus was with South and Central America at $5 billion, while the biggest deficit after China was with the European Union at $15.7 billion. The U.S. also continues to run deficits with Mexico ($9.1 billion), Japan ($5.9 billion) and Germany ($5 billion).

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