Make us your home page
Instagram

Trade deficit for August soars 8.8 percent to $46.3 billion

WASHINGTON — The U.S. trade deficit widened sharply in August, reflecting a surge in imports of consumer products as businesses restocked their shelves in hopes of a pickup in consumer demand.

The politically sensitive deficit with China climbed to an all-time high, a development that was certain to increase pressure on the Obama administration to take a tougher line on trade issues including China's tightly controlled currency.

The Commerce Department said Thursday the deficit in August increased 8.8 percent to $46.3 billion. Exports edged up a slight 0.2 percent, but this increase was swamped by a 2.1 percent jump in imports.

So far this year, the trade deficit is running at an annual rate of $502.5 billion, up 34 percent from the $374.9 billion deficit for all of 2009, which had been the smallest imbalance since 2003.

Last year's deficit was just half the total of the previous year and reflected the country's deep recession, which cut sharply into demand for imports. Economists had expected the deficit to rise this year but had forecast that a rebounding global economy would also boost demand for exports.

For August, the 0.2 percent rise in exports pushed them to $153.9 billion, the highest level in two years. The small gain reflected increases in U.S. sales abroad of farm goods, autos, computers and oil-field drilling equipment. Those gains offset big declines in sales of commercial aircraft, industrial engines and ship engines.

The 2.1 percent rise in imports pushed them to $200.2 billion and reflected a big jump in demand for foreign food products, which climbed to an all-time high of $7.8 billion. Imports of petroleum products rose 3.5 percent to $27.6 billion, the highest level since April, as the average price of a barrel of imported crude oil rose to $73.47, up from $72.09 in July. That was the highest price since May.

The deficit with China rose 8.2 percent to an all-time high of $28 billion, surpassing the old record of $27.9 billion set in October 2008. So far this year, the U.S. deficit with China, the largest imbalance with any country, is running 20.6 percent above the pace set in 2009.

At a time of high U.S. unemployment, the widening trade deficit with China has increased calls for a crackdown on what critics see as China's unfair trade practices, such as keeping China's currency undervalued to make Chinese goods more competitive against American products.

The Obama administration has been stepping up pressure on China to accelerate the appreciation of its currency, and last month the U.S. House passed legislation that would impose stiff trade sanctions on countries such as China found to be manipulating their currencies to gain trade advantages.

Trade deficit for August soars 8.8 percent to $46.3 billion 10/14/10 [Last modified: Thursday, October 14, 2010 10:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Appointments at Port Tampa Bay and Tampa General Medical Group highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers

    Business

    Government

    Port Tampa Bay announced that Jamal Sowell has been named director of special projects. Sowell, a former member of the U.S.Marine Corps, will support internal, external and special projects, assist the executive team with management oversight and serve as a liaison on a variety of port …

    Port Tampa Bay announced this week that Jamal Sowell has been named director of special projects. [Handout photo]
  2. Drones restrictions coming at Tampa Bay area airports

    Airlines

    Starting Sept. 1, Tampa International Airport officials will be enforcing new height restrictions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems, according to a press release.

    In this February 2017 file photo, a drone flies in Hanworth Park in west London. Starting Sept. 1, Tampa International Airport officials will be enforcing new height restrictions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems,
[John Stillwell/PA via AP, File]
  3. Gov. Scott backs off boycott of companies doing business in Venezuela

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott will ask the Florida Cabinet next month to prohibit the state's investment managers from doing something they already do not do: invest in companies or securities owned or controlled by the Venezuelan government.

    Florida Governor Rick Scott interacts with people as he holds a Venezuelan Freedom Rally at El Arepazo 2 restaurant on July 10 in Miami. [Joe Raedle | Getty Images]
  4. Superior Uniform Group reports $65.6 million in sales for second quarter

    Corporate

    SEMINOLE — Superior Uniform Group Inc. reported sales of $65.6 million in net sales for the second quarter, up a percentage point from the same quarter last year, the Seminole-based company reported Thursday.

    Superior Uniform Group Inc. saw a sales increase for the second quarter, the company reported Thursday. Pictured is Michael Benstock, CEO. | [Courtesy of Superior Uniform Group]
  5. Air bag inflator ruptures, driver killed in Pasco County

    Autos

    DETROIT — Automaker Honda says a driver from Pasco County died in a crash earlier this month that involved an exploding Takata air bag inflator.

    Honda says a driver near Tampa has died in a crash that involved an exploding Takata air bag inflator. 
[Associated Press]