U.S. trade deficit jumps to six-month high in August

WASHINGTON, Oct 5 (Reuters) - The U.S. trade deficit increased to a six-month high in August as exports dropped further amid declining soybean shipments and imports hit a record high, suggesting that trade could weigh on economic growth in the third quarter.

FILE PHOTO - A stack of shipping containers are pictured in the Port of Miami in Miami, Florida, U.S., May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

The Commerce Department said on Friday the trade gap increased 6.4 percent to $53.2 billion, widening for a third straight month. Data for July was revised to show the trade deficit rising to $50.0 billion, instead of the previously reported $50.1 billion.

The politically sensitive goods trade deficit with China surged 4.7 percent to a record high of $38.6 billion.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the overall trade deficit swelling to $53.5 billion in August.

The trade gap continues to widen despite the Trump administration’s “America First” policies, which have led to a bitter trade war between the United States and China.

Washington has also engaged in tit-for-tat import duties with the European Union, Canada and Mexico. The United States has since struck a trade deal with Canada and Mexico.

The Trump administration says eliminating the trade deficit will put the economy on a sustainable path of faster growth, an argument that has been dismissed by many economists as flawed given constraints such as low productivity and slow population growth.

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