US trade deficit narrows to $45.3 billion in January
WASHINGTON, March 7: The US trade deficit narrowed in January as exports fell but imports fell more. The politically sensitive trade gap with China widened.
The Commerce Department said Friday that the divide between what the US sells and what it buys abroad dropped 6.7per cent in January to $45.3 billion.
Exports of goods and services slipped 0.4per cent in January. Imports dropped 1.6per cent. Both exports and imports of crude oil dropped in January, reflecting falling energy prices.
President Donald Trump campaigned against America's persistent trade deficits -- especially the vast gap with China -- calling them the result of abusive practices by US trading partners and bad trade agreements negotiated by his predecessors. He has imposed taxes on $360 billion in Chinese imports to protest Beijing's trade policies. And he pushed through a revamped North American trade agreement meant to bring manufacturing back to the United States.
Last year, the US trade deficit dropped for the first time in six years.
Exports of civilian aircraft, which can bounce around from month to month, dropped sharply in January. Exports of US soybeans shot up 27.4per cent. As part of an interim trade deal signed in January, China agreed to step up purchases of US soybeans and other agricultural products.
Still, the January gap in the trade of goods with China rose 5.1per cent in January to $26.1 billion. The January gap fell 12.3per cent with Mexico and 44.2per cent with Canada.
The United States ran a $21.7 billion surplus in the trade of services such as banking and education in January, boosted by a record $72.2 billion in services exports. But it recorded a $67 billion deficit in the trade of goods such as cars and appliances. -AP