US trade deficit drops in June as exports rise at twice the rate of imports

File Photo: Shipping containers sit at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, US | Photo: Reuters
The US trade deficit fell in June for the first time since February as exports posted a record increase, rising twice as fast as imports.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that the gap between the value of what the United States buys and what it sells abroad fell 7.5 per cent to $50.7 billion in June from $54.8 billion in May.

Exports shot up an unprecedented 9.4 per cent to $158.3 billion. Imports rose 4.7 per cent to $208.9 billion.

Global commerce has been hammered by the coronavirus pandemic. Compared to June 2019, total US trade — exports plus imports — plunged 21.9 per cent in June to $367.2 billion.

But two-way trade rebounded from May to June, rising 6.7 per cent on a surge in both exports and imports of cars and auto parts.

“The latest trade figures confirm that both exports and imports began rebounding in June, and we expect a continued recovery over the coming months as production catches up with the recovery in consumption,” said Michael Pearce, senior US economist at Capital Economics.

The politically sensitive deficit in the trade of goods with China fell 4 per cent to $26.7 billion in June.

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