Washington--The U.S. trade deficit soared to a five-month high as imports of goods increased and eclipsed a modest rise in US exports.
The Government put out its Ag trade numbers for the first eight months of this fiscal year spanning the months of October through May.
Back in April, the US posted an Ag trade deficit of $865 billion dollars These new numbers from May show a deficit of $250-billion dollars.
“This is first trade balance deficit for two months in a row since May 2016,” said USDA Economist Kam Daugherty.
So far this fiscal year US Ag exports are running almost 7-percent below the same 8 months from a year ago at $92.4 billion dollars, imports are running 2.3 percent higher at just under $89 billion, “So we still have a significant Ag trade surplus,” said Daugherty.
“The Ag surplus is $3.5 billion dollars, that’s down 71-percent,” according to Daugherty. “That's two straight months of an Ag deficit and that’s very uncommon.”
It’s too early to predict the trade deficit on Idaho Ag Exports come harvest time.
So now the worry centers around June numbers and if they will show a third straight month of a trade deficit. In May, the fiscal deficit increased to $207.8 billion, up 41.5 percent from the same month last year. The forecast according to a survey of US economists was $202.5 billion.