US trade deficit narrows in September
The Commerce Department today announced the US trade deficit narrowed by 5.3% in September to $44 billion – slightly less than the $45 billion expected by analysts.
The figures led to a politically sensitive gap with China of $27.8 billion – hovering near a record high. The previous record trade deficit with China was $27.9 billion in October 2008 – just as the global financial crisis erupted.
The trade figures come as currency tensions continue between the US and Beijing.
Today, it was revealed that China’s trade surplus widened last month – to reach its second highest level this year.
The trade surplus grew to $27.1 billion (£17 billion) – far higher than September’s $16.9 billion but just slightly below the $28.7 billion reported in July.
Both sets of figures are likely to trigger issues over trade imbalances and currency manipulation and the two issues are likely to be high on the agenda at this week’s G20 meeting in South Korea.
The US has previously expressed dissatisfaction that China is keeping the value of the yuan low to help its exporters at the expense of overseas competitors.
Trade groups have argued that the yuan, also referred to as the renminbi, is kept up to 40% below what its value should be against the US dollar.
Meanwhile, returning to the US figures, exports of US goods crept up 0.3% on the month to $154.1 billion.
Imports, however, fell 1% on the month to $198.1 billion – this was attributed to a fall in imports of manufactured and agricultural goods.