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U.S. Trade Deficit Hits 10-Year High
USAgNet - 12/07/2018

The U.S. trade deficit jumped to a 10-year high in October as soybean exports dropped further and imports of consumer goods rose to a record high. According to Reuters, the data suggests the Trump administration's tariff-related measures to shrink the trade gap may likely have been ineffective.

Other data on Thursday showed private employers hired fewer workers than expected in November, pointing to a moderation in the pace of job growth. That was reinforced by another report showing a small decline in the number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits last week.

The reports added to weak housing and business spending on equipment data in signaling a slowdown in economic growth. Concerns over the health of the economy have roiled financial markets in recent days.

The Commerce Department said the trade deficit increased 1.7 percent to $55.5 billion, the highest level since October 2008. The trade gap has now widened for five straight months. Data for September was revised to show the deficit rising to $54.6 billion instead of the previously reported $54.0 billion.

The politically sensitive goods trade deficit with China surged 7.1 percent to a record $43.1 billion in October, Reuters reports.

The United States is locked in a bitter trade war with China. Washington has imposed tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports to force concessions on a list of demands that would change the terms of trade between the two countries.

China has responded with import tariffs on U.S. goods, including soybeans. President Donald Trump has long railed against China's trade surplus with the United States, and accuses Beijing of not playing fairly on trade.

In addition to the duties on Chinese goods, Washington has slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum imports into the United States this year. On Saturday, Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to hold off on imposing more tariffs for 90 days while they negotiate a deal to end the trade dispute.

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