The decrease came largely from a 6.4% drop in imports from the Asian country. Businesses rushed to get shipments through before the Trump administration’s additional 10% tariff on $200bn of Chinese products took effect that September. This ate into demand for subsequent months.
Exports to China also fell 1.5% from retaliatory tariffs and the Chinese economy’s loss of momentum. The deficit with China for the January-November period jumped 10.8% on the year to $378.95bn.
The figure already exceeds the record full-year tally for 2017 and is expected to have reached a new high in 2018. Despite US President Donald Trump’s pledge to narrow the figure, the trade war appears to have widened the gap.
Overall, the US logged a $70.48bn goods trade deficit in November, down 8.6% on the month.
The November figures were delayed a month by the partial government shutdown.