US trade deficit soars to a 10-year high in 2018

Washington: US trade deficit soared to $621 billion in 2018, the highest in a decade, data released on Wednesday by the US Department of Commerce showed.

The $68.8 billion annual increase, or 12.5 percent, came along with a net loss in goods and services trade of $59.8 billion in December, up 15.2 percent from $51.9 billion in the same period a year earlier.

On a month-on-month basis, the December figure, which also hit a 10-year record, is the result of a 2.1 percent rise in imports to $264.9 billion, and a 1.9 percent drop in exports to $205.1 billion, according to the Department.

For the whole year, imports surged 7.5 percent from the previous year to $3.12 trillion, while exports jumped 6.3 percent to $2.5 trillion, the data showed, Xinhua reported.

In December, the country saw an increase in the goods deficit of $9 billion to 81.5 billion, as well as a decrease in the services surplus of $0.5 billion to $21.8 billion.

With regard to specific countries and areas, the charts showed that China still runs the largest trade surplus with the US, trailed by the European Union (EU) and Mexico.

US trade deficit with China reached $38.7 billion in December, up $3.2 billion from November. For full-year 2018, US total value of imports from China outnumbers exports to the country by $419.2 billion, an increase of $43.6 billion compared with 2017.

Washington has a $169.3 billion red ink in trade balance with the Brussels in 2018. The country also bought more from Mexico than it sold to the southern neighbor during the same year, resulting in a net outflow of $81.5 billion.

US President Donald Trump has long complained about US deficit with its trading partners worldwide. The gap, however, is continuing to widen despite his tariff measures aiming to eliminate the discrepancy.