In a blow to Trump, America’s trade deficit hit record US$891b
00:47, Mar 8, 2019
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Significantly, the trade deficit with China hit a record $419 billion, despite a series of tariffs the administration imposed on Chinese goods to decrease reliance on imports. It's reported that both sides are close to reaching a deal that could include China's purchase of more than $100 billion worth of US goods every year, including agricultural and energy products.
The retaliatory tariffs Trump provoked from China also hit major U.S. agricultural exports such as soybeans: shipments of that item fell $US4 billion previous year.
Economists said activity from cash-fluid businesses and consumers helped increase the buying of imports while the overvalued dollar weighed on exports. You can't wish it away. U.S. and Chinese officials have recently signalled that they are close to some kind of agreement, although China has only bolstered its commitment to investing in and developing its technology sector and questions about how to enforce any trade rules remain.
The record $891 billion deficit shattered the previous high of $838.3 in 2006, a time when the USA housing market was near its peak.
While that reserve currency status does handicap the competitiveness of U.S. exports, it lowers borrowing costs for United States borrowers and enables Americans to enjoy a higher standard of living than they would if there were no trade deficits.
The OECD on Wednesday cut its global growth forecast for 2019 by two tenths to 3.3 percent, citing trade tensions and political uncertainty.
Cellphone imports increased $0.6 billion.
Inside the White House, key economic advisers including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow are eager for a quick resolution to the trade conflict, while trade hawks such as U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has taken a tougher line with China.
But most economists say that such increased Chinese purchases would likely only divert USA shipments from other foreign customers, shrinking the trade gap with China but leaving the global balance largely unchanged.
Put another way, by Trump's own benchmark, the United States is 20% worse off than it was at the end of 2016, just before he took office.
The Fed said slowing global growth and the government shutdown weighed on the U.S. economy at the start of the year but that it continued to grow. Moreover, Trump pulled the US out of the longstanding trilateral North American Free Trade Agreement, which came into force in 1994 to unify the US, Canada, and Mexico. Beijing is expected to offer to make eye-catching purchases of American agricultural goods to cut the trade deficit and please Trump.
"We compute that tradeable real wages fall the most in heavily GOP counties because of the [trade] war", the study found.
Weinstein said the President appears to be relying on a 2018 analysis of data from the 1990s, when the USA represented a larger share of the global economy and enjoyed more leverage over exporters in other countries.
Trump's tariffs also may cause USA companies to write off sizable investments in their Chinese factories as they scramble to shift operations to safer venues, said the study by Weinstein, Amiti and Redding.
Another is that other countries have levied their own retaliatory tariffs on our own products - most famously, red-state goods such as soybeans and bourbon.
Washington and Beijing have been locked in intense negotiations to end a months-long trade war.
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