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US trade deficit soars to 12-year high

The trade deficit in July spiked 18.9 percent to $63.6 billion, the highest since July 2008 during the Great Recession, according to Commerce Department data released Thursday.

Imports spiked $22.7 billion since June, while exports increased by just $12.6 billion.

The deficit, which represents the difference between how much the U.S. bought from abroad and how much it sold abroad, was concentrated in goods, where the deficit rose $9.3 billion to $80.9 billion in July.

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The overall deficit was tempered by a surplus in services, which decreased $0.8 billion to $17.4 billion.

Large trade deficits are not inherently bad for the economy, but President TrumpDonald John TrumpHillary Clinton responds to Chrissy Teigen tweet: 'I love you back' Police called after Florida moms refuse to wear face masks at school board meeting about mask policy Supreme Court rejects Trump effort to shorten North Carolina mail-ballot deadline MORE campaigned heavily in 2016 on reducing the size of the trade deficit. He said trade deals with Canada and Mexico and an initial deal with China would rein in the deficits.

The data showed the goods deficit with Mexico hit a record high in July, reaching $10.6 billion, while the goods deficit with China rose 11.5 percent to $31.6 billion.

The United States maintained bilateral deficits with the European Union, Japan and Germany, among others, but also kept a trade surplus with South and Central America, the OPEC countries, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and Canada.