Ross: US can 'no longer sustain' growing trade deficits with Japan, Mexico

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US imports of Japanese vehicles and auto parts surged, sending the USA automotive trade deficit with Japan climbing almost 40 percent to $5.1 billion.

WASHINGTON-The U.S. trade gap widened in the first quarter compared to a year earlier as exports and imports rose, suggesting underlying strength in the global economy.

Exports shrank 0.9 percent to $190.99 billion due partly to a decrease in exports of fuel oil and other petroleum products.

On the other side of the equation, imports increased 1.7 per cent to $47.1 billion with gains in seven of 11 sectors.

Exports of energy products gained 7.0 per cent to $8.7 billion, while consumer goods were up 6.8 per cent to $6.1 billion.

The declines were partially offset by trade in motor vehicles and parts.

Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit increased $9.4 billion, or 7.5%, from the same period in 2016.

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"The increase in imports points to improvements in business investment spending and inventory rebuilding, both contributors to GDP", National Bank economist Krishen Rangasamy said in a note to clients.

Exports to the United States, which accounted for 73.1 per cent of all Canadian exports in March, edged up by 0.1 per cent while imports increased by two per cent.

The shortfall followed a revised deficit of $1.1 billion for February compared with an initial reading of a deficit of $972 million for the month.

Compared to the same month previous year, exports are now nearly 13 per cent higher than they were in 2016. The trade deficit with China, habitually the largest of all USA trading partners, has nevertheless improved by 2.5 per cent so far this year, Mr Ross said.

Wells Fargo Securities Economics Group publications are produced by Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, a U.S broker-dealer registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and the Securities Investor Protection Corp. The information and opinions herein are for general information use only.

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