US Goods Trade Deficit Hits Record High (Don't Tell Trump)

Do not show this to President Trump, he will not be happy.

In the few months since President Trump unleashed his trade war, predicated on managing back America's massive merchandise trade deficit, things have gone very wrong, judging by the numbers.

Against expectations of a modest improvement in the deficit to $75.1 billion, September's goods trade balance slumped again to $76.036 billion from a revised $75.5 billion, and just barely surpassing the July 2008's record high deficit of $76.025 billion, making the September print a record in this series.

Whether this reflects pre-emptive actions ahead of actual tariffs is unclear, although the silver lining was that at least exports rebounded modestly, if not enough, compared to last month when exports declined once more:

  • Imports rose 1.5% in Sept. to $216.988b from $213.878b in August
  • Exports rose 1.8% in Sept. to $140.952b from $138.422b in the prior month.

How Trump will react to this record print is unclear, although with the stock market cracking and trade war with China only escalating, the president - and certainly Peter Navarro - will hardly be happy; keep an eye on his twitter feed for any kneejerk response.