The US Trade Deficit
The United State (US) trade deficit fell to US$49.3 billion in November 2018. Photo: Special.

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – The United State (US) trade deficit fell to US$49.3 billion in November 2018, the first decline after five straight months of increases. But on a year-on-year (yoy) basis, the gap rose by 10.4 percent.

The trade deficit due to a decline in imports of cellphones and petroleum products, the US Commerce Department reported on Wednesday (02/06). Revised data for October 2018 showed the US trade deficit rose to US$55.7 billion.

The latest data on the US trade deficit is also lower than economists’ projections. Economists expect the trade deficit to fall to US$ 54.0 billion in November 2018.

The US trade deficit with China also fell to US$37.9 billion in November 2018 from US$43.1 billion in October 2018.

The overall trade deficit until November 2018 continues to rise despite the Trump administration’ “American First” policy, which has caused Washington to impose tariffs on various imported goods from China and trigger trade wars.

In all, the year-to-date goods and services deficit increased by $51.9 billion, a 10.4 percent rise from the same period in 2017. Exports rose US$157.1 billion or 7.3 percent, while imports gained US$208.9 billion or 7.9 percent.

In November 2018, US imports of goods and services fell 2.9 percent to US$259.2 billion. Imports of consumer goods fell US$4.3 billion, weighed down by imports of US$2.3 billion in cellphones and other household goods.

Then, oil product imports fell by US$1.4 billion, with crude oil imports falling by US$700 million.

Meanwhile, exports of goods and services fell 0.6 percent to $209.9 billion. Exports of consumer goods fell $900 million and petroleum products were reduced by $0.6 billion. Capital goods exports increased $1.4 billion, up a 1 percent increase in shipments of civilian aircraft.

On a broader level, economist says, the drop in the trade deficit will serve as a boost to fourth-quarter GDP, which is expected to show a 2.5 percent increase.

How the trade tensions play out over a longer period, though, is unknown as the US-China talks continue ahead of a March 2 deadline for imposition of another round of tariffs. Among individual countries, the gap with China closed US$2.8 billion to $35.4 billion.

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: theinsiderstories@gmail.com

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