U.S. Trade Deficit Rose to $53.1 billion in December

The US Census Bureau, announced today that the U.S. goods and services deficit rose to $53.1 billion in December from $50.4 billion in November, as imports increased more than exports. December exports were $203.4 billion, $3.5 billion more than November exports. December imports were $256.5 billion, $6.2 billion more than November imports. The December increase in the goods and services deficit reflected an increase in the goods deficit of $2.6 billion to $73.3 billion and a decrease in the services surplus of $0.1 billion to $20.2 billion.

Economists polled by Reuters, had forecast the trade gap widening to $52.0 billion in December. Part of the rise in the trade gap reflected higher commodity price increases. The trade deficit $53.1 billion, is the highest level since October 2008. The December import average price per barrel of crude oil ($52.10) was the highest since July 2015 ($54.20).

Monthly Trade Highlights

The December goods and services deficit ($53.1 billion) was the highest since October 2008 ($60.2 billion).

The December goods deficit ($73.3 billion) was the highest since July 2008 ($77.6 billion).

Exports of goods and services increased $3.5 billion in December to $203.4 billion

Exports of goods increased $3.4 billion and exports of services increased $0.1 billion.

The increase in exports of goods mostly reflected increases in industrial supplies and materials ($1.5 billion) and in capital goods ($1.2 billion).

The increase in exports of services mostly reflected increases in travel (for all purposes including education) ($0.1 billion) and in maintenance and repair services ($0.1 billion). A decrease in transport ($0.1 billion) partly offset the increases.

Imports of goods and services increased $6.2 billion, in December to $256.5 billion.

December imports of goods ($209.3 billion) were the highest on record.

The increase in imports of goods mostly reflected increases in consumer goods ($3.2 billion), in automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($1.1 billion), and in capital goods ($0.8 billion).

The increase in imports of services mostly reflected increases in travel (for all purposes including education) ($0.2 billion) and in charges for the use of intellectual property ($0.1 billion).

The 2017 figures show surpluses, in billions of dollars, with South and Central America ($34.3), Hong Kong ($32.5), Netherlands ($24.5), Belgium ($14.8), and Australia ($14.6). Deficits were recorded, in billions of dollars, with China ($375.2), European Union ($151.4), Mexico ($71.1), Japan ($68.8), Germany ($64.3), Ireland ($38.1), Italy ($31.6), Malaysia ($24.6), India ($22.9), South Korea ($22.9), Thailand ($20.4), Canada ($17.6), Taiwan ($16.7), France ($15.3), Switzerland ($14.3), Indonesia ($13.3), and OPEC ($13.0).

The deficit with China increased $28.2 billion to $375.2 billion in 2017. Exports increased $14.8 billion to $130.4 billion and imports increased $43.0 billion to $505.6 billion.

The deficit with Mexico increased $6.7 billion to $71.1 billion in 2017. Exports increased $13.3 billion to $243.0 billion and imports increased $20.0 billion to $314.0 billion.

Latest U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services report is available at bea.gov