Attention, we have a deficit disorder

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: Every month, we get numbers on U.S. imports versus exports and just about every month, we set a new record for that widening deficit. We did it again in August. We imported $70 billion more than we exported. More now from Marketplace's Scott Tong.


SCOTT TONG: Carl Weinberg is a bit surprised. He's a forecaster with High Frequency Economics and he expected the trade gap for August to dip — not set a record high.
CARL WEINBERG: The record deficit of $69.9 billion was a good $3 billion wider than the market was generally expecting.

Weinberg thinks it's an oil story, reflecting the sky-high prices we all paid at the gas station this summer. Of course, the price of crude has now fallen by 25 percent, and he assumes that'll show up in the trade numbers soon.

WEINBERG: The consumer is actually feeling better news at the pumps and filling up their heating tanks this fall than the economy is feeling. The economy takes a few months longer to realize the benefits.

Today's numbers show another record deficit with China: $22 billion for the month of August.

Next month a group of American corporate executives travels to China, looking for some way to chip away at that trade gap.

In Washington, I'm Scott Tong for Marketplace.

About the author

Scott Tong is a correspondent for Marketplace’s sustainability desk, with a focus on energy, environment, resources, climate, supply chain and the global economy.

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