America’s trade war with other nations is showing a drag on the U.S. economy, according to a recently released report from the department of commerce as published by the American Journal of Transportation (AJOT).
The report showed the merchandise-trade deficit unexpectedly grew in August to $75.8 billion, the widest in six months, as exports of food, industrial supplies and automobiles declined. The AJOT also reported that corporate investment had slowed with business equipment orders and shipments in U.S. factories falling in August following a run of strong gains.
Soy bean exports fell in the third quarter following a surge in the second, ahead of Chinese-imposed tariffs. AJOT reports the trade war between China and the U.S. has “spurred volatility in the data.”
“In addition, the widening deficit runs contrary to Trump’s aim of a narrower gap and underscores the challenges of achieving that goal amid strong domestic demand—which tends to boost imports—and retaliatory tariffs from abroad,” wrote the AJOT.
“The data are grim,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics Ltd., referring to the August goods trade gap. “The administration’s narrative, that the second-quarter drop in the deficit was a result of their trade policies, has now fallen apart, as it was always likely to do.”
The AJOT also reported a slowing in global trade amid the tariff battles between Beijing and Washington. Freight and logistics company DHL told AJOT its trade barometer weakened in September, dropping to the lowest since 2016 and indicating a slower pace of growth in the months ahead.
While economists claim it is too early to detect the exact impact of the trade disputes, they do predict that it’s “unlikely to dissipate.”
The tariff war between China and the U.S. began in July and escalated in September when $200 billion worth of tariffs were imposed on Chinese imports.