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Trade Deficit Increased by 12.2 % in 2022

Déficit comercial subió 12,2 % en 2022, EFE

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The U.S. deficit in its foreign trade in goods and services rose 12.2% in 2022 over the previous year ($103 billion), amid the strength of the dollar and fears of a possible recession.

Thus the country’s trade deficit stood at $948.1 billion in 2022 compared to $845 billion in 2021, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported Tuesday.

During December, the deficit rose by 10.5% compared to November to stand at 67.4 billion dollars, coinciding with the Christmas shopping season. In the last month of the year, exports were worth $250.2 billion, $2.2 billion less than in November.

By contrast, imports rose by $4.2 billion in December from the previous month to $317.6 billion.

In 2022, both exports and imports grew compared to 2021, but the latter remained higher than the former.

Last year, exports of goods and services amounted to US$453.1 billion, up 17.7%, compared to 2021, reaching US$3,009.7 billion.

This increase was driven by growth in foreign sales of industrial products and supplies such as crude oil (up $47.5 billion), gasoline ($28.1 billion) and natural gas ($22.9 billion); capital and consumer goods, such as soybeans (up $7 billion); food and beverages; and vehicle parts.

Imports also increased in 2022, up 16.3% ($556.1 billion) to $3,957.8 billion, with increases in purchases of industrial materials, capital goods, consumer goods, automotive parts, and food and beverages.

Trade deficit up 12.2 % in 2022
The Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo, and the Mexican Secretary of Economy, Tatiana Clouthier, participate in a press conference after the Second Annual Mexico-United States High Level Economic Dialogue Meeting. (EFE)

Some of the imports that rose last year were crude oil ($65.1 billion); electrical appliances ($19.7 billion); pharmaceutical preparations ($18.8 billion); cell phones and other household goods ($11 billion); and passenger vehicles ($19 billion).

In 2022, the trade deficit with China, which is very sensitive politically in the USA, rose by $29.4 billion to $382.9 billion, as well as with the European Union to $203 billion and with Mexico to $130.6 billion.

By contrast, the USA recorded a trade surplus with South and Central America ($76.2 billion), Hong Kong ($21.1 billion) and the United Kingdom ($13.3 billion).

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These statistics came in a year in which the US economy showed strength despite inflation and interest rate hikes to alleviate it.

In 2022, the U.S. economy grew by 2.1%, according to the first estimate of the country’s annual Gross Domestic Product released this month by the BEA.

That annual growth figure is above the estimates of agencies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which in its latest report in October estimated that the country would grow 1.6% in 2022. By 2023, the IMF said the U.S. economy will grow by 1%, figures that will be updated next week.

The estimates of lower growth in 2023 come in the midst of a complicated global economic situation as a result of the war in Ukraine and also when economists are closely observing the consequences that the interest rate hikes carried out in recent months by the Federal Reserve (Fed) to control inflation may be having.

Miguel Ángel Camacho is an editor at El American, Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Literature, and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Creative Writing. // Miguel Ángel Camacho es editor en El American, profesional en Filosofía y Letras y actualmente cursa una Maestría en Creación Literaria.