US trade deficit widened for a fifth consecutive month and reached a 10-year high in October, the government reported Thursday.
The total trade gap increased 1.7 per cent to 55.5 billion US dollars in October, spurred by all-time high imports, according to data from the US Commerce Department.
Imports of goods and services increased 0.6 billion dollars, or 0.2 per cent compared with the previous month, in October to 266.5 billion dollars.
The statistics showed the United States bought an additional 2 billion dollars' worth of consumer goods in October compared with September, and increased its overseas purchase of autos, auto parts and engines by 0.7 billion dollars. These two categories have mainly driven up the monthly imports of goods.
With regard to imports of services, the increase was mostly due to travels made by Americans, which added 0.2 billion dollars and brought the US services imports to 46.9 billion dollars.
Exports of goods and services dropped 300 million dollars, or 0.1 per cent month-over-month, to 211 billion dollars in October. Specifically, exports of goods decreased 0.4 billion dollars, while that of services added 0.1 billion dollars, Xinhua reported.
Decreased goods exports mostly included foods, feeds, beverages and capital goods, while the increase in services exports was mainly driven by an upward trend in financial, research and development and professional and management services.
The trade deficit added up to 502.7 billion dollars in the first 10 months this year, up more than 11 percent compared with the same period in 2017, the report said.
Economists believe that raising tariffs on imports is not the right way to reduce the country's long-time trade deficit, which is likely to increase further because of the planned US fiscal stimulus.
A strong US dollar has also contributed to the widening of the trade deficit.
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