Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

United States trade deficit in February rises to highest since October 2008

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Ellis Copeland | 06 April, 2018, 01:44

Canada's trade deficit unexpectedly rose to $2.69 billion in February from $1.94 billion in January as imports grew much faster than exports, Statistics Canada data indicated on Thursday. At the same time, his tariffs on some imported steel and aluminium, along with proposed taxes by United States and China on goods from each country, represent a wild card for the outlook and have sparked financial-market swings in recent weeks.

The president views trade deficits as a sign of economic weakness and as the result of bad trade agreements and unfair practices by America's trading partners.

Despite the rebound in export volumes, the trade deficit remains disappointing given the strong US economy and weak Canadian dollar, said Royce Mendes, senior economist at CIBC Economics, in an email note to clients.

However, they wrote that the rising trade tension between the United States and China, which have each announced plans for tariffs on $50bn of the other's goods, are a "potential fly in that ointment".

The nation's trade deficit with the remainder of the world widened to CAD 5.3 billion with exports down 4.2 percent and imports dropping 0.6 percent.

The trade deficit in goods with China narrowed in February to $29.3 billion from $36 billion in January. He has also slapped 25 percent import duties on steel and 10 percent on aluminum. However the gap with China shrank 2.3% from January.

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The value of exports climbed by 1.7% to USD204.4 billion in February, reflecting notable increases in exports of industrial supplies and materials, passenger cars, and consumer goods.

Wall Street took the news in stride, with investors calmed by hope a trade war will be averted.

The wider than expected trade deficit in February was the widest since the USD60.2 billion trade deficit recorded in October of 2008.

The rising trade gap was also due to weigh heavily on growth at the start of the year because deficits subtract from calculations of GDP.

Farm, fishing and intermediate food products were down 17.2 percent to 2.4 billion dollar - the largest decline on record, said the governmental statistical agency. Still, the overall economic growth is on track to expand 1.4 percent in the March quarter.

But the United States goods deficit was still at its highest level since July 2008 at $76 billion - with capital goods imports at an all-time high of $57.8 billion.

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