US trade deficit jumps to record high in June on strong import growth

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The US trade deficit surged to a record high in June as efforts by business to rebuild inventories to meet robust consumer spending drew in more imports.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday that the trade gap increased 6.7% to US$75.7 billion in June, an all-time high.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a US$74.1 billion deficit. Goods imports rose 1.8% to US$239.1 billion, also a record high. Exports of goods gained 0.2% to US$145.9 billion in June, an all-time high.

The government reported last week that consumer spending picked up in the second quarter, with outlays on goods rising solidly, even as demand is rotating back to services because of vaccinations against COVID-19.

The double-digit growth in consumer spending last quarter helped to left the level of gross domestic product above its peak in the fourth of 2019. Business inventories were depleted at a rapid clip in the second quarter.

The U.S. economy has rebounded more quickly from the pandemic than its main rivals because of massive fiscal stimulus, low interest rates and a high level of coronavirus vaccinations. That is putting pressure on the trade deficit, which has subtracted from GDP for four straight quarters.

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