US trade deficit in July hits widest point in 12 years

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The US trade deficit in July swelled to its greatest gap since the 2008 financial crisis, the Commerce department reported Thursday.

The US trade deficit, or gap between imports and exports, widened nearly 19% to $US63.6 billion in July from $US53.5 billion in June, according to the report. That surpassed economist estimates that the deficit would reach $US58 billion in July, according to Bloomberg data.

A record jump in imports drove the deficit – US imports grew 10.9% in July to $US231.7 billion. At the same time, exports increased 8.1% to $US168.1 billion, according to the release.

The report is the latest to show that the US economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing recession has an uncertain path ahead and will likely come in fits and starts. In June, the trade deficit narrowed, though imports and exports remained well below pre-pandemic levels.

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Even with an increase in July, global trade is weaker than it was before the coronavirus pandemic. And, US trade deficits with other countries increased.

The US trade deficit with China grew $US1.6 billion to $US28.3 billion in July, driven by a jump in imports, according to the report. At the same time the US trade deficit with Mexico increased $US2.5 billion to $US11.5 billion.

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