U.S. Trade Activity Slows Down as Imports Hit 19-Month Low
The Commerce Department reports a slowdown in U.S. trade as imports hit their lowest level since November 2021. Imports dip by 1% in June, with a significant drop in imports from China. Exports also experience a slight decline.
Troy D. Hanson
August 09, 2023
The latest report from the Commerce Department reveals a cooling trend in U.S. trade with the rest of the world. In June, imports experienced a significant decline to their lowest level since November 2021. While the figures provided do not account for inflation, they do reflect changes in demand and prices.
Imports dipped by 1% in June compared to the previous month, reaching a seasonally adjusted value of $313 billion. This decrease was primarily driven by lower shipments of capital goods, like computers, and industrial supplies such as oil. On the other hand, there was a slight increase in imports of consumer goods and vehicles.
Among the various countries, imports from China witnessed a significant drop of 4.3% in June compared to the previous month. As a result, the trade deficit with China decreased by $2.1 billion, totaling $22.8 billion in June. Furthermore, exports to China were at their lowest level since February 2021.
Exports also experienced a slight decline of 0.1% in June, amounting to $247.5 billion. This decrease can be attributed to lower shipments of industrial supplies, including natural gas, and consumer goods like pharmaceuticals.
The trade gap, which indicates that the U.S. imports more goods and services than it exports, narrowed by 4.1% in June to $65.5 billion. This reduction comes after May's deficit of $68.3 billion. Additionally, the Commerce Department noted that during the first half of this year, the goods and services deficit saw a 22.3% decrease compared to the same period last year.