Trade deficit decreases for first time since 2013

The U.S. trade deficit shrunk in 2019 for the first time in half a decade, according to data released by the Commerce Department.

The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times noted that the trade deficit shrank overall by 1.7 percent in 2019, the first time it has done so since 2013. The deficit in goods alone dropped 2.4 percent over the year.

The drop was largely attributed to falling exports and to the amount of imports from China amid a trade dispute that lasted most of 2019, with negotiators reaching the first phase of an agreement to address longstanding issues in recent weeks.

Deficits with the European Union remained at record highs, $177.9 billion according to The Associated Press, while the goods deficit with Mexico also reached record levels — $101.8 billion.

One of the largest drops in imports measured by the data was crude oil; imports of crude dropped nearly 20 percent in 2019, sitting now at $126.6 billion.

The 2019 numbers come just a year after 2018 saw the deficit reach a 10-year high.

Tags China economy International trade trade deficit

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