US trade deficit jumps to 12-year high in 2020

WASHINGTON: The United States’ trade deficit surged to its highest level in 12 years in 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the flow of goods and services.

The Commerce Department said on Friday that the trade deficit jumped 17.7pc to $678.7 billion last year, the highest since 2008. Exports of goods and services tumbled 15.7pc to their lowest level since 2010. Imports of goods and services dropped 9.5pc to a four-year low.

The plunge in exports contributed to the economy shrinking 3.5pc last year, the biggest drop in gross domestic product since 1946. Trade flows have been gradually improving. For December, the trade deficit narrowed 3.5pc to $66.6 billion .

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the trade gap would shrink to $65.7 billion in December.

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Imports of goods rose 1.5pc to $217.7 billion in December. Goods exports shot up 4.7pc to $133.5 billion.

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