Thursday, March 7, 2019

Trade deficit keeps blowing up. Not how Trump Tariffs were supposed to go

This sounds like a bad sign. Is it a bad sign?
December exports were $205.1 billion, $3.9 billion less than November exports. December imports were $264.9 billion, $5.5 billion more than November imports.

The December increase in the goodw and services deficit reflected an increase in the goods deficit of $9.0 billion to $81.5 billion, and a decrease in the services surplus of $0.5 billion to $21.8 billion.

For 2018, the goods and services deficit increased $68.8 billion, or 12.5 percent, from 2017. Exports increased $148.9 billion or 6.3 percent. Imports increased $217.7 billion or 7.5 percent.
Lower exports for December but higher imports? An increase of nearly $69 billion in the 2018 trade deficit?

Sounds like the Trump Tariffs aren't exactly working as planned. Especially given that our deficit with China grew by nearly $44 billion last year, and our deficit with Mexico jumped by nearly 15%.

Also, the damage from the rising trade deficit isn't just that we're spending more than we're sending out, to levels that we last saw right before the Great Recession. It's also that we havent seen that much of an increase in wages in the US from that protection, particularly in manufacturing and agriculture.

Agriculture in particular got shelled. Real exports in "foods, feeds and beverages" are down year-over-year in each of the last 4 months, and soybean exports were down more than $4 billion in 2018 vs 2017.

It also has caused problems domestically, as illustrated by this recent Cap Times headline

The domestic surplus has dropped prices further, which has driven even more Wisconsin dairy farms out of business.

Huh, no wonder why the Trump Admin is trying to imply they're closer to a trade deal with China (don't believe anything till th ere's a signature, by the way). They know the haphazard way they threw up these trade barriers is not working.

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