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Tuesday, 20 August, 2002, 13:48 GMT 14:48 UK
US economy trapped in trade gap
Cargo being loaded into a ship in the US
Imports have reached their highest level for 15 months
The United States has reported its second-largest trade deficit on record.

During June, the trade gap narrowed only slightly, as demand for imports reached its highest level for 15 months.

The US Commerce Department said June's trade deficit came in at $37.2bn (24.4bn), compared with May's record deficit of $37.8bn.

Imports of goods and services increased by 0.5% to $119.2bn, as imports of consumer goods, such as clothing and electrical goods, reached a record high of $26.2bn.

US exports grew by 1.7% to $82bn, helped by increased sales of agricultural products.

The biggest trade gap was recorded with China, where a deficit of $8.5bn emerged, even though US exports to China climbed to a record $2.2bn.

Getting bigger?

The latest figures mean the US trade gap grew by 8.1% to $206bn during the first six months of the year, compared with the first half of 2001.

The April to June quarter saw the three highest monthly trade deficits on record.

Economists have said that the trade gap is set to widen over the rest of the year, hindering the already-faltering recovery in the US economy.

US exporters have been hoping that the recent weakening in the value of the dollar will help them in coming months.

A weaker dollar makes US products cheaper abroad and so should boost overseas sales.


Economic indicators

Fears and hopes

US Fed decisons

IN DEPTH
See also:

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