Trade gap widened in May

July 13, 2010 at 10:22 AM
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WASHINGTON, July 13 (UPI) -- The U.S. trade deficit grew higher than expected in May, reaching $42.3 billion with a strong jump in imports, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said Tuesday.

The bureau said the trade surplus in services was "virtually unchanged" in the month at $12.2 billion. But import of goods rose by $4.9 billion to $161.7 billion and goods exports rose by $3 billion to $107.2 billion. That gap bumped the deficit from a revised $40.3 in April to $42.3 billion in May in round figures.

The numbers show an increase in trade overall, but increased activity also tends to widen the U.S. trade gap, especially with China, where the trade gap rose by $3 billion in May, rising from $19.3 billion in April to $22.3 billion.

The trade gap also widened with the European Union and Mexico, but narrowed with Germany, Japan and the Organization of Petroleum Export Countries, due to a drop in the price of oil.

"The trade deficit bottomed at $24.9 billion in May 2009, just before the current economic recovery began. Now, a rising trade deficit and continued weakness among regional banks threatens to derail the (economic) recovery," Maryland University Smith School of Business economics professor Peter Morici wrote Tuesday.

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