US trade deficit increased the most since 2015 in July

US trade deficit increased the most since 2015 in July

The U.S. trade deficit widened for the second straight month in July and by the most since 2015 on record imports, despite President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump nominates ambassador to Turkey Trump heads to Mar-a-Lago after signing bill to avert shutdown CNN, MSNBC to air ad turned down by Fox over Nazi imagery MORE's efforts to lower the trade deficit.

The latest gap increased 9.5 percent to $50.1 billion, the highest level since February, from a revised $45.7 billion in June, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.


Exports dropped 1 percent to $211.1 billion, behind drops in shipments of soybeans, which fell $682 million and a $1.57 billion drop in purchases of civilian aircraft.

Imports rose 0.9 percent to a record $261.2 billion, boosted by purchases of computers, oil and autos.

The increase in the overall trade gap was the biggest since March 2015.

The deficit rose even as Trump has put his focus on lowering the trade deficits, which the president argues reflect how the U.S. has poorly negotiated trade deals in the past, giving other countries the advantage.

Deficits in goods with China and the European Union reached all-time highs.

Trump has imposed tariffs on a broad range of Chinese goods while hitting the EU with steep steel and aluminum duties. 

China has matched U.S. tariffs and has promised to keep it up if Trump decides to slap tariffs on $200 billion on Chinese goods. That move could happen as early as this week. 

Trump's imposition of $50 in tariffs on China with threats of billions more has ramped up tensions between the world's largest economies. 

The goods deficit with China jumped 10 percent in July to a record $36.8 billion.

The trade gap with the EU spiked 50 percent to a record-high $17.6 billion.

So far this year, the goods and services trade deficit is up 7 percent from the same period in 2017.