China / Across America

US trade deficit with China widens in August

By Associated Press (China Daily) Updated: 2015-10-07 10:49

The US trade deficit jumped sharply in August as exports fell to the lowest level in nearly three years while imports increased, led by a big jump in the shipments of cellphones from China.

The deficit increased 15.6 percent to $48.3 billion, the biggest deficit since March, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. Exports of goods and services dropped 2 percent to $185.1 billion, the lowest level since October 2012. Imports rose 1.2 percent to $233.4 billion.

Critics point to America's huge trade deficits to bolster their argument that other nations are manipulating their currencies and pursuing other unfair trade practices that are costing US jobs.

For August, the US deficit with China rose 10.7 percent to $35 billion, the highest level in 11 months. So far this year, the deficit with China, the largest with any trading partner, is running 9.5 percent higher than a year ago. It is on track to set another annual record.

The rise in imports reflected a $2.1 billion jump in the category that covers cellphones, with many of those imports coming from China. Imports of telecommunications equipment and food products were also up, but imports of oil dropped 11.7 percent to $15.1 billion.

The drop in exports reflected lower sales of manufactured goods such as computers, industrial machinery and autos. Shipments of U.S. energy products also fell 9.3 percent to $8.1 billion, reflecting the slump in oil prices.

Exports have been hurt this year by the rising value of the dollar, which makes US goods less competitive on overseas markets, and weaker economic growth in China and other major export markets. Economists say they expect these trends will combine to push the deficit higher and make trade a drag on overall growth this year.

(China Daily 10/07/2015 page2)

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