US trade deficit swells to all-time high

The United States’s trade deficit swelled to an all-time high of $55,5-billion in October as imports—including those from China—surged to the loftiest levels on record. Skyrocketing crude-oil prices also contributed to the yawning trade gap.

The latest snapshot of trade activity, reported by the Commerce Department on Tuesday, showed the country’s trade imbalance widening by a sizable 8,9% in October from the previous month—despite the fact that US exports registered their best month on record.

The growth in imports, however, dwarfed the pace of exports in October, producing another bloated trade gap. The trade deficit was much bigger than the $52,4-billion imbalance economists were forecasting.

Imports of goods and services climbed to a record high of $153,5-billion in October, representing a 3,4% increase from September.

The US’s politically sensitive trade deficit with China clocked a record $16,8-billion as imports flowing from the country posted all-time highs.

The Bush administration has been pressing China to let its currency, the yuan, be set in open markets.
US manufacturers claim Beijing’s currency policies give Chinese companies a big competitive advantage over US companies.

Another factor in October’s trade deficit was surging prices for imported crude oil. The average price of crude oil soared to a record $41,79 a barrel—a whopping 11,1% increase from September’s price.

US exports, meanwhile, rose by 0,6% in October from the previous month to a record $98,1-billion. Sales of US-made industrial supplies to other countries totalled a record high of $18-billion.

Exports of capital goods, including drilling equipment and airplanes, also gained ground.—Sapa-AP

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