U.S. January Trade Deficit $68.2 Billion; Consensus Deficit $67.6 Billion -- Update
By Yuka Hayashi
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. trade deficit widened in January as
American consumers stepped up purchases of imported products.
The deficit in trade of goods and services expanded by 1.9% to a
seasonally adjusted $68.2 billion in January, the Commerce
Department said Friday, compared with a $66.97 billion gap in
December. Analysts polled by The Wall Street Journal had projected
a deficit of $67.6 billion.
Imports increased 1.2% to $260.2 billion from December, while
exports grew 1.0% to $191.9 billion.
Americans splurged on consumer goods in January, helped by $600
payments many received as part of the latest round of government
stimulus spending to fight the impact of the pandemic. Retail sales
jumped a seasonally adjusted 5.3% in January from the previous
month, the biggest increase since June.
With the global economy on a recovery path, exports also
expanded modestly, bolstered by higher shipments of industrial
supplies and capital goods. Many countries loosened restrictions on
economic activity at a quicker pace as Covid-19 cases fell sharply
from their peak around the new year.
In January, the U.S. deficit in trade in goods with China
declined to $26.25 billion from $27.23 billion in December. Exports
to China fell 12.2% to $12.86 billion, while imports declined 6.6%
to $39.11 billion.
Under the so-called Phase One trade agreement signed with the
Trump administration, China committed to boosting its imports of
certain U.S. products in agriculture, manufacturing and energy by a
combined $200 billion between 2020 and 2021.
China fell far short of its purchase goal for 2020, and its
imports of covered products in January came to $9.82 billion, down
from and average of $11.2 billion in the previous three months,
according to an analysis by Panjiva, a research unit of S&P
Global Market Intelligence.
The company projects China must increase its monthly imports of
the covered items to an average of $14.8 billion to meet its
purchase goal for 2021.
Katherine Tai, who is expected to be confirmed as U.S. Trade
Representative in coming days, said during a Senate hearing last
week that she would use all tools available to "ensure that China
lives up to its obligations in the agreement."
Write to Yuka Hayashi at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
March 05, 2021 09:23 ET (14:23 GMT)
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