US trade deficit rises to record US $ 71.1bn in February

(Bloomberg) – The US trade deficit rose to an all-time high in February thanks to strong demand from households and businesses that caused exports to fall larger than imports.

The deficit in trade in goods and services grew to $ 71.1 billion in February, from a revised $ 67.8 billion the previous month, according to Commerce Department data released Wednesday. The median of the estimates of economists consulted by Bloomberg was a deficit of $ 70.5 billion.

A decline in exports outweighed a drop in the value of imports during the month, as adverse weather conditions during the winter disrupted bilateral trade.

The US deficit has risen fairly steadily on a monthly basis since it hit a more than three-year low in February 2020. The country’s ports have been receiving large volumes of imports, leading to shortages. containers that have raised freight rates and caused problems for domestic producers at a time when inventories are tight.

Global supply chains were put to the test in late March after a massive container ship blocked the Suez Canal for days, forcing shippers and other vessels to weigh the option of traveling through Africa, which is costly and time consuming. .

Total imports decreased 0.7% to US $ 258.3 billion, while exports fell 2.6% to US $ 187.3 billion.

Meanwhile, a global semiconductor shortage has forced automakers like Ford Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. to cut production, further impacting global trade.

Semiconductor imports registered little variation in February, totaling US $ 5 billion, while chip exports fell more than US $ 400 million to US $ 4.8 billion.

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Imports fall

Imports of motor vehicles and consumer goods declined in February, while the value of industrial supplies, which include oil, increased.

The deficit in merchandise trade grew approximately 3% to $ 88 billion, while the country’s surplus in services trade fell to $ 16.9 billion, the lowest since 2012.

The deficit in goods trade between the U.S. and China widened in February to a three-month high of $ 30.3 billion on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Adjusted for inflation, the merchandise trade gap increased to a record $ 99.1 billion in February from $ 96.1 billion.

Original Note: US Trade Deficit Widened to Record $ 71.1 Billion in February

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