US trade deficit rises 9.7% in May to $54.6 billion

  • FILE - In this May 11, 2020 file photo, a container ship is docked at Maher Terminals in Elizabeth, N.J. The U.S. trade deficit rose for the third straight month in May. Both exports and imports fell as the coronavirus outbreak continued to take a toll on world commerce. The Commerce Department said Thursday, July 2 that the gap between the United States buys and what it sells abroad rose 9.7% in May to $54.6 billion, highest since December 2018.

    FILE - In this May 11, 2020 file photo, a container ship is docked at Maher Terminals in Elizabeth, N.J. The U.S. trade deficit rose for the third straight month in May. Both exports and imports fell as the coronavirus outbreak continued to take a toll on world commerce. The Commerce Department said Thursday, July 2 that the gap between the United States buys and what it sells abroad rose 9.7% in May to $54.6 billion, highest since December 2018. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 7/2/2020 8:27 AM

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. trade deficit rose for the third straight month in May. Both exports and imports fell as the coronavirus outbreak continued to take a toll on world commerce.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that the gap between the goods and services the United States buys and what it sells abroad rose 9.7% in May to $54.6 billion, highest since December 2018. The coronavirus pandemic has devastated world trade. U.S. exports fell 4.4% in May to $144.5 billion, lowest since November 2009. Imports slid 0.9% to $199.1 billion, lowest since July 2010.

 

The politically sensitive deficit in the trade of goods with China rose 7.3% to $27.9 billion in May.

So far this year, the overall U.S. deficit in the trade of goods and services has fallen 9.1% to $223.4 billion from $245.7 billion in January-May 2019.

World trade has plummeted in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak. In May, overall U.S. trade - exports plus imports - came in at $343.6 billion, down 28% from May 2019. Exports of crude oil and petroleum products dropped sharply in May as did auto imports.

In May, the United States ran a $76.1 billion deficit in the trade of goods such as autos and appliances. But it ran a $21.5 billion surplus, smallest since February 2016, in the trade of services such as banking and education.

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