A container ship is guided by tugs out of the terminal at the Port of Long Beach-Port of Los Angeles complex, amid the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), in Los Angeles, California, United States on 7 April 2021.
Lucy Nicholson | Reuters
The United States’ trade deficit hit a new record in March, as consumers overflowing with government cash fueled continued demand for overseas-made goods.
With a new round of $ 1,400 stimulus checks pouring in and the national economy continuing to show substantial improvement, the imbalance of goods and services with the rest of the world has risen to $ 74.4 billion, reported Tuesday the Commerce Department.
This is the highest level ever recorded in a data series dating back to January 1992 and representing a 57.6% increase over the same period a year ago and exceeding the $ 70.5 billion of February.
The trade imbalance with China increased by more than 22% to reach $ 36.9 billion. The deficit with Mexico increased 23.5% to $ 8.4 billion.
“The stimulus has maintained spending by American consumers throughout the duration of the pandemic, but restrictions on high-contact industries have diverted consumer spending from locally produced services to goods, much of which is imported,” he said. writes Bill Adams, senior economist at PNC.
Exports actually rose for the month, increasing $ 200 billion or 6.6%. But this was offset by continued demand for imported goods, which grew 6.3% or $ 274.5 billion.
The deficit grew nearly 10% in 2021 alone and rose from the level of $ 47.2 billion in March 2020, just as the United States entered the first days of the Covid-19 pandemic . Imports in 2021 increased 8.5% while exports fell 3.5%.
Adams said the deficit is expected to decline in the coming months as the recovery progresses.
“As the pandemic is brought under control in the United States, American consumers will spend less on imported products, decreasing imports; and foreigners will buy more American exports as their economy recovers,” he said. .
In March, imports of consumer goods rose the most, increasing by $ 4.5 billion, including a $ 1.2 billion increase in textile clothing and household goods. Imports of industrial supplies and materials increased by $ 3.7 billion, and capital goods by $ 3.3 billion.
Industrial supplies and materials led exports with an increase of $ 5.2 billion, while capital goods increased by $ 2.9 billion and consumer goods increased by $ 2 billion.
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Correction: Imports of textile clothing and household items rose $ 1.2 billion in March. An earlier version misrepresented the figure.