Saturday, 23 March, 2019

US President Donald Trump dealt blow as US trade deficit jumps

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Leonard Rios | 09 March, 2019, 01:23

That means the U.S.in 2018 imported $891.2 billion more goods than it exported - a massive deficit, and a massive 10% increase.

The December trade gap jumped to $59.8 billion, which was also a 10-year high, according to media reports.

But the deficit has been a long-standing bugaboo for Trump.

Despite the "victory" in the coercive negotiations with Canada and Mexico that led to the re-writing of what used to be the North American Free Trade agreement, there was a $US19.8 billion deficit with Canada and a $US81.5 billion deficit with Mexico - the biggest deficits in a decade. "It has become a number that fundamentally matters because it is a statistic to which Trump is accountable". Even Trump's attempts to deal with currency issues in trade negotiations with China-or his public complaints about a strong dollar-seem unlikely to change anything.

More worryingly, some analysts now warn Trump will "up the ante" to distract attention from the deteriorating trade situation.

Agriculture workers, in particular, have argued that they already are the collateral damage.

Economists don't like to dwell too much on the United States trade balance. Despite President Donald Trump's repeated promise to shrink trade deficits, it leaped by 12.2% to $621 billion in 2018, after hitting a record high during his first year in office.

"Is the juice going to be worth the squeeze?"

Put another way, by Trump's own benchmark, the United States is 20% worse off than it was at the end of 2016, just before he took office. They forecast Trump might now redouble his efforts to impose more and heavier tariffs on trading partners such as Germany and the European Union, for instance. Tariffs lead to higher prices paid by consumers, so when the president and administration officials cite an influx of tariff-related funds to the US government, USA consumers are largely the ones footing the bill. Economists from the University of California, Los Angeles; Yale University; and the University of California, Berkeley released the latest draft of an economic study this week that showed that Americans footed the entire tariff bill in 2018. In this case, it rose from $17.9 billion to $169.3 billion in 2018.

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The trouble is equally severe on both sides of the report as exports in December fell 2.8 percent to $205.1 billion and imports rose 2.4 percent to $264.9 billion.

The president has repeatedly argued that the trade deficit is "unsustainable" and classified it as transferring wealth from the U.S.to foreign countries.

Weinstein's study, co-written withMary Amiti of the Federal Reserve Bank of NY, and Princeton University's Stephen Redding, reviewed what actually occurred previous year after United States tariffs took effect and concluded that Americans paid the entire tariff bill.

But Trump's trade policy also contributed materially to the growth of the gap in 2018.

Apart from that, the Trump administration launched a full-scale trade war against China. While stock futures registered small gains in the hours after the news, USA equities have been down in the three days since.

In contrast to Gallup's finding of a 43 percent job approval rating for President Trump, the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows that 48 percent of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Trump's job performance.

The immediate drivers of the surge in the trade deficit under Trump have been the fiscal expansion resulting from the tax cuts he pushed through Congress and the stronger dollar that resulted, partly from the juiced economy that expansion helped create.

As Trump said in a 2012 tweet attacking Obama, "China is robbing us blind in trade deficits and stealing our jobs, yet our leaders are claiming "progress" - SAD!"

"They're very tough to make a deal with, the EU". "I think the White House is presuming there are more Democrats there, and there are a lot of Republicans that are assuming there are more Republicans there".

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