The United States trade deficit widened in January as merchandise imports jumped to record highs amid soaring consumer spending, offsetting a continuing recovery in exports.
The Commerce Department said the trade deficit in January rose 1.9% to $ 68.2 billion. Economists had forecast a deficit of $ 67.5 billion in January.
Merchandise imports increased 1.6% to $ 221.1 billion, the highest ever recorded. Consumer spending rose the most in just seven months in January, fueled by government checks from low-income households as part of additional assistance from the COVID-19 pandemic by nearly $ 900 billion.
According to preliminary estimates released by the government last week, the surge in demand also led to a reduction in retail stocks in January. Meager stocks and expected strong domestic demand as new coronavirus cases decline and the pace of vaccinations accelerates suggest imports will continue to rise.
Merchandise exports rose 1.6% to $ 135.7 billion. Trade was deducted from gross domestic product growth for two consecutive quarters.
Information and analytical department of TeleTrade
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