In October the Bush administration set an all time record trade deficit of $56 billion. November’s trade deficit of $60.3 billion shattered that mark.
America’s trade deficit soared to an all-time high of $60.3 billion in November, reflecting record levels for imports of everything from oil and consumer goods to farm products, the government reported Wednesday.
The Commerce Department said the November deficit was up 7.7 percent from an imbalance of $56 billion in October, which had been the previous monthly record. The new record caught private economists by surprise. They had been forecasting a slight narrowing in the November trade gap.
The trade deficit through November totaled $561.3 billion, far above the previous annual record of $496.5 billion set in 2003, and put the country on track to record a trade imbalance topping $600 billion when the December figures are added.
Critics point to the yawning deficits as evidence that President Bush’s trade policies are not working. Democrats contend that the administration has not done enough to protect American workers from unfair competition from low-wage foreign countries such as China.
The administration counters that the trade gap is primarily a reflection of a U.S. economy that has been growing faster than most of the rest of the world.
Private economists are concerned, nevertheless, about whether America will have the ability to continue finance trade deficits at such high levels.
If foreigners suddenly decide that they do not want to hold dollars in payment for the foreign goods that American consumers love to purchase, it could put added downward pressure on the American currency, which has been declining in value against a number of other currencies for the past three years.