Trade deficit up 19.1% since May, sets a new record:
The Commerce Department reported Friday that the trade deficit surged to a $55.82 billion in June, a sharp 19.1 percent increase from a May imbalance of $46.88 billion.
The June deficit was har [sic, -de-har-har!] higher than economists had been expecting. It reflected a rise in imports, pushed up by surging energy costs and a drop in U.S. exports.
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told Congress last month that the “soft patch” the economy encountered in the early summer should be short-lived.
However, private economists are worried that the continued rise in energy costs, which act like a tax on consumers, will further depress consumer spending in the months ahead and could jeopardize the economic recovery.
The trade report showed that imports rose by 3.3 percent to $148.64 billion in June, an increase that was led by a huge jump in the nation’s foreign energy bill, which rose to $15.22 billion in June compared to $13.74 billion in May.
U.S. exports fell by 4.3 percent in June to $92.82 billion, the lowest level in four months, reflecting broadbased weakness across a number of categories of manufactured goods.