US Trade Deficit Widens in February

The U.S. trade deficit widened by more than forecast to a fresh nine-year high in February amid broad-based demand for imports, ahead of Trump administration tariffs that have raised the specter of a trade war.The gap increased 1.6 percent in February to $57.6 billion, compared with the median estimate of economists for $56.8 billion, Commerce Department data showed Thursday. It was the sixth straight month with a wider deficit, the longest streak since 2000. Imports and exports both registered gains of 1.7 percent, with the data showing a $1 billion jump in charges for imported intellectual property that probably reflect a temporary boost from rights fees to broadcast the Olympic Games.While President Donald Trump has vowed to shrink the trade deficit, it may keep growing thanks to rising household spending, strong business investment and tax cuts that are boosting demand for imports. At the same time, his tariffs on some imported steel and aluminum, along with proposed taxes by U.S. and China on goods from each country, represent a wild card for the outlook and have sparked financial-market swings in recent weeks.

Source: U.S. Trade Gap Widens for Sixth Month Ahead of Trump Tariffs – Bloomberg

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Craig Erlam

Craig Erlam

Senior Currency Analyst at OANDA
Based in London, England, Craig Erlam joined OANDA in 2015 as a Market Analyst. With more than five years' experience as a financial market analyst and trader, he focuses on both fundamental and technical analysis while conducting macroeconomic commentary. He has been published by The Financial Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Telegraph, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Sky News, Bloomberg, CNBC and BBC. Craig holds a full membership to the Society of Technical Analysts and he is recognized as a Certified Financial Technician by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.