Washington, Jan 7 (efe-epa).- The United States’ trade deficit in November widened by $5 billion, or 8 percent, from the previous month to $68.1 billion, marking the largest monthly deficit since August 2006, the Commerce Department said Thursday.
The surprisingly high November figure, which amply exceeded economists’ forecast for a $62.5 billion deficit and was up sharply from the revised deficit figure of $63.1 billion registered in October, was the result of US companies’ bolstering their inventories in preparation for the year-end holiday season.
The trade deficit for the first 11 months of 2020, meanwhile, soared to $604.8 billion, up 13.9 percent from the $531.2 billion deficit registered in the same period of the previous year.
That figure also has already eclipsed the $576.9 billion trade deficit figure for all of 2019.
Both US exports (down by $372.3 billion, or 16.1 percent) and imports (off by $298.7 billion, or 10.5 percent) decreased sharply during that 11-month period, reflecting the dramatic impact of the coronavirus crisis.
The latest monthly figures from the department’s Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis showed that the trade deficit in goods climbed by $5 billion to a record $86.4 billion in November, causing the goods deficit for the first 11 months of last year to rise to a whopping $824.6 billion.
For the same period of 2019, the goods trade deficit stood at $794.4 billion.
Those figures show that US consumers’ appetite for imported goods has remained robust in spite of the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, while the health emergency and the related lockdowns implemented by some of America’s largest trade partners have reduced demand for US products.
The US’s services trade surplus, meanwhile, remained virtually flat in November, falling by less than $100 million compared to October to $18.2 billion.
In November, the total value of US exports of goods and services rose by $2.2 billion, or 1.2 percent, from October to $184.2 billion, buoyed by sales of industrial supplies and materials (particularly natural gas), foods, feeds and beverages and travel and transport.
The total value of imports rose by $7.2 billion, or 2.9 percent, in November relative to the previous month to $252.3 billion, primarily due to purchases of cellular phones and other consumer and household items, industrial supplies and materials, capital goods and travel and transport services, according to the Commerce Department’s report.
The US’s trade deficit with China rose in November to $30 billion, as imports increased by $3 billion and exports declined by $500 million.
In the case of EU, the trade deficit rose by $1 billion to $16.7 billion, the result of a nearly $1 billion rise in exports and a $2 billion increase in imports.
The US’s trade surplus with South and Central America, meanwhile, rose to $3 billion in November, up from $2.2 billion in October. Exports rose by $200 million that month, while imports fell by $600 million. EFE-EPA