The US trade deficit widened in November. The increase was due to an increase in the cost of imports. Retail made its contribution, making it almost impossible to fill shelves in retail areas for the sake of holiday shopping. The increased demand for foreign oil also contributed.
The US trade deficit increased by $ 13.7 billion in a month, but exports are also showing records
According to the Ministry of Commerce on January 6, the gap in trade in goods and services increased to $ 80.2 billion from the $ 67.2 billion revised in October. Earlier, experts suggested that the deficit was about $ 81 billion.
In turn, the volume of imports increased to $ 304.4 billion, and exports increased to $ 224.2 billion, which is also a record.
These figures are not adjusted for inflation. If we take the data adjusted for price increases, then in general, the trade deficit in November increased to $ 110.8 billion from $ 97.1 billion a month earlier.
Supply chains remain one of the main reasons for unsatisfied customer demand and price pressure.
However, a stronger dollar is also gently helping American importers, even though a surge in global inflation leads to higher costs. Thus, the inflation-adjusted dollar index against the currencies of some of its main trading partners strengthened in 2021 for the maximum in six years, which reduced the cost of imports.
But even without currency factors, low inventories compared to sales, supply chain failures and transportation problems continue to prevent manufacturers in the United States from meeting demand.
Meanwhile, the increase in commodity exports is a favorable sign. In particular, such an increase suggests that the importing states of American products are also slowly but surely recovering, which means they require more goods from the United States. That could make trade less of a drag on US economic growth in the coming months after it subtracted 1.26 percentage points from US gross domestic product since the outbreak of the fourth wave of coronavirus.
Nevertheless, experts point to the growing gap between imports and exports: the deficit of commodity trade, excluding services, has increased to a record $ 99 billion.
If we take the services segment, the positive balance here increased to $ 18.8 billion, which was the highest in five months. The 12.7% increase compared to a month earlier was the largest since September 2004 and also indicates a clear economic recovery.
Travel exports (spending by travelers within the United States) jumped by 36.4%, to $ 8.1 billion after travel restrictions were lifted, which is the highest since March 2020.
Travel imports (Americans' spending on overseas travel) have reached a pandemic peak of almost $ 7 billion.
The positive news is likely to further strengthen the dollar in today's session.