America’s merchandise-trade deficit widened in August by less than forecast as a gain in imports exceeded a slight increase in exports.
The gap stood at $72.8 billion in August after $72.5 billion the month prior, according to Commerce Department data released Thursday. Economists projected a deficit of $73.4 billion. The government’s advance report also showed wholesale inventories increased by the most in three months.
Washington’s trade war with Beijing has created supply-chain headaches for U.S. firms that rely on Chinese imports, at the same time capital spending slows in response to weaker global growth.
The figures showed a 2.6% increase in consumer goods imports in August, the biggest monthly gain this year. After President Donald Trump’s Aug. 1 announcement, U.S. companies last month may have raced to beat a 10% levy on additional $300 billion in Chinese goods that began Sept. 1. That pattern occurred immediately after previously announced tariffs on Chinese and Mexican goods.
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