U.S. Trade Balance at a Record High

The balance of trade represents the difference in value over a period of time between a country’s imports and exports of goods and services. A trade deficit subtracts from gross domestic product, the official scorecard for the economy. For June, the U.S. again had a trade deficit. In fact, the last time the U.S. had a trade surplus was in 1975.

The international trade deficit increased to $91.2 billion in June, up $3.0 billion from $88.2 billion in May. Exports of goods for June were $145.5 billion, $0.5 billion more than May exports, while imports of goods for June were $236.7 billion, $3.5 billion more than May imports.

The U.S. has run trade deficits for decades and June was no exception. As the U.S. economy embraces a faster recovery from the global economy, Americans are spending more on imports. But how much does the trade deficit matter?

Many economists disagree if a trade deficit is damaging to an economy or not. Former President Trump made reducing the deficit a priority, emphasizing U.S. made goods over imports. President Biden has yet to make any major statements or moves on the trade balance.

Interestingly, according to data from Statista, the country with the lowest trade balance in 2019 was China, and the latest was the United States—and they are each other’s largest trading partner.