U.S. trade deficit hits eight-month low on weak Chinese imports

0
2

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. trade deficit fell to an eight-month low in February as imports from China plunged, temporarily providing a boost to President Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda and economic growth in the first quarter.

FILE PHOTO: A container ship is shown at port in Long Beach, California, U.S. July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The surprise second straight monthly narrowing in the trade gap reported by the Commerce Department on Wednesday was also driven by soaring aircraft exports, which are likely to reverse after Boeing halted deliveries of its troubled 737 MAX aircraft. MAX planes have been grounded indefinitely following two deadly crashes.

Economists warned the trade deficit would remain elevated regardless of whether the United States and China struck a trade deal that was to the White House’s liking because of Americans’ insatiable appetite for cheaper imports.

Talks between Washington and China to resolve the bitter trade war have been dragging. The United States is also embroiled in conflicts with other trading partners, including the European Union, contributing to big swings in exports and imports data in recent months.

“Even if trade negotiations are resolved in such a way as to reduce the bilateral trade deficit with China,