The trade deficit in goods with China fell to $29.672 billion in September, slightly below the August figure.
Imports from China totaled $41.2 billion in the month, according to data released by the Commerce Department Wednesday.
That’s a high level of imports but well below the pre-tariff levels and around where they stood last year. On the one hand, that suggests that we are not making much progress in reducing our reliance on Chinese goods. On the other, it suggests demand has recovered from the pandemic lows.
Exports to China totaled $11.5 billion. That’s slightly elevated and likely reflects China buying U.S. agricultural goods in compliance with the Phase One trade agreement. U.S. soy exports were up 63 percent in September.
The monthly totals are not seasonally adjusted so they should be compared with the year ago level to squeeze out any seasonality. A year ago, the September trade deficit with China came in at $31.6 billion. In fact, this year’s September figure is the lowest since 2012.
The U.S. trade deficit with the rest of the world tumbled 4.7 percent in September compared with the 14 year high in August. That left a trade gap of $63.9 billion. Exports climbed 2.6 percent to $176.4 billion. Imports inched up 0.5% to $240.2 billion. Both were boosted by a high level of trade in the food and beverages category.