It’s not surprising that the US trade deficit set another record last year. What is surprising (to me at least) is that the record 2005 trade deficit was a full 20% higher than the record 2004 trade deficit.
America’s deficit in the broadest measure of international trade surged to an all-time high of $804.9 billion last year as the country went deeper into debt to foreigners.
The Commerce Department said that the deficit in the current acccount was up 20.4 percent from the previous record of $668.1 billion set in 2004. The current account is the best measure of trade because it tracks not only goods and services but also investment flows between countries.
The 2005 current account trade deficit was a record not only in dollar terms but also as a percentage of the total economy at 6.4 percent of total economic output, up from 5.7 percent in 2004. The deficit for just the fourth quarter was also a record at $224.9 billion, up by 21.3 percent from the third quarter.
And in other Bush Boom news, retail sales last month were for shit.
In other economic news, retail sales for February fell by 1.3 percent, the biggest setback in six months. There were big declines in sales of autos, clothing and furniture as cold weather during the month kept shoppers away from the stores.