The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported last week that the nation’s trade deficit in March grew to $50 billion in March, up $700 million from $49.3 billion from February’s revised tally.
The monthly report was released Thursday (May 9) just ahead of President Donald Trump’s announcement that the U.S. planned to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.
On Monday, U.S. markets were rattled after China said it would raise tariffs on $60 billion on a broad range of mostly U.S. agricultural goods in response to President Trump’s ongoing trade fight with the Far East nation.
Overall, the nation’s trade deficit is the cost of goods and services that the U.S. imports minus the value of exports into the country. The nation’s deficit with China, the largest of any U.S. trading partner, decreased $1.9 billion to $28.3 billion in March. Exports increased $1.4 billion to $10.5 billion and imports decreased $500 million to $38.8 billion.
Total U.S. exports in March were $212 billion, $2.1 billion more than February exports. March imports were $262.0 billion, $2.8 billion more than February imports. The March increase in the goods and services deficit reflected an increase in the goods deficit of $500 million to $72.4 billion and a decrease in the services surplus of $200 million to $22.4 billion. Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit decreased $5.8 billion, or 3.7%, from the same period in 2018. Exports increased $14 billion or 2.3%. Imports increased $8.2 billion or 1.1%.
The March figures show surpluses with South and Central America ($4.2 billion), Hong Kong ($2.4 billion), Brazil ($900 million), OPEC ($700 million), Saudi Arabia ($300 million) and Singapore ($200 million). Deficits with China were by far the largest at $28.3 billion, followed by the European Union and Mexico at $15.8 billion and $8.6 billion, respectively. The rest included Japan ($6.1 billion), Germany ($5.7 billion), Italy ($2.8 billion), Canada ($2.1 billion), Taiwan ($2 billion), South Korea ($1.8 billion), India ($1.8 billion), France ($1.7billion), and United Kingdom ($200 million).
The deficit with the European Union increased $3.4 billion to $15.8 billion in March. Exports decreased $1.4 billion to $27.8 billion and imports increased $2 billion to $43.6 billion. The balance with Canada shifted from a surplus of $500 million to a deficit of $2.1 billion in March. Exports decreased $0.1 billion to $25.3 billion and imports increased $2.6 billion to $27.5 billion.