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US Trade Deficit Widens Moderately in Jan'23

  • The US monthly trade deficit increased in January 2023 to $68.3 billion
  • In January, exports were $257.5 billion, whereas imports were $325.8 billion
  • The US economy's rapid expansion, the trade imbalance with China, and Americans' low savings rates are the primary causes of trade deficits

Overview of Trade Deficit in the US:

According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, the goods and services deficit increased by $1.1 billion (1.6%) from December 2022 to January 2023, reaching $68.3 billion. The US global trade deficit indicates that the country consumes more than it produces and imports more than it exports. The most significant cause of the trade deficit is the low rate of US domestic savings by households, firms, and the government relative to its investment needs.

Compared to January 2022, the goods and services deficit declined by $19.2 billion (21.9%) annually. Exports climbed by $30.2 billion (13.3%), and imports increased by $11.0 billion (3.5%). The significant causes of trade deficits are the rapid expansion of the US economy, the trade imbalance with China, the declining saving rate of Americans, and high-risk coverage for US assets to foreigners.

Overview of the US Exports and Imports:

The US trade deficit widened moderately in January 2023 as imports and exports increased strongly. GlobalData estimates that in FY2023, exports of goods and services from the US made up about 11.9% of its gross domestic product (GDP), and imports of goods and services made up about 16.3%.   


Imports increased by 3.5% to $325.8 billion. As per the US Department of Commerce, Imports of consumer goods increased by $4.1 billion, driven by increases in purchases of cellphones, other household goods, medicines, toys, games, and sporting goods. Capital goods imports increased by $1.4 billion, reflecting the rise in electric devices and telecommunications equipment.

Exports increased 3.4% to $257.5 billion, driven by sales of passenger cars, civilian aircraft, communication devices, and pharmaceutical preparations, while exports of services fell $1.6 billion to $79.7 billion, pulled down by declines in travel and transport.

Without sufficient capital inflows, a trade deficit causes other parts of the economy to adjust a country's exchange rate. A portion of the widening trade gap is likely also due to rising prices for products and commodities.

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