Donald Trump’s trade war isn’t helping things…
U.S. exports fell 0.6% to $213.8 billion just a month after hitting a record high. The biggest drop was in new cars and trucks. Exports of drugs, jewelry and passenger planes also declined.
Soybean exports surged again following a similar spike in May as buyers sought to stock up before retaliatory tariffs took effect.
Soybean shipments were nearly 50% higher in the first six months of this year as compared with the comparable period in 2017: $15.2 billion vs. $10.9 billion. Exports could soon taper off sharply, though, as the tariffs kick in.
Imports rose 0.6% to $260.2 billion. The U.S. imported more oil and pharmaceutical drugs. Oil imports were the highest in 3½ years.
Drug imports were significantly higher compared with a year earlier, in perhaps another case of pre-tariff buying.
Tariffs imposed by President Trump on foreign steel and aluminum appeared to have an effect. Imports of both metals sank in June.
Big picture: Although Trump claimed last week that his administration had cut the trade deficit, it’s actually still going up….