US trade deficit jumps 18%

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    WAS HINGT ON- The United States’ trade deficit surged to its highest level in 12 years in 2020 as the COVID -19 pandemic disrupted the flow of goods and services.

    The Commerce Department said that the trade deficit jumped 17.7 percent to $678.7 billion last year, the highest since 2008. Exports of goods and services tumbled 15.7 percent to their lowest level since 2010. Imports of goods and services dropped 9.5 percent to a four-year low.

    The plunge in exports contributed to the economy shrinking 3.5 percent last year, the biggest drop in gross domestic product since 1946. Trade flows have been gradually improving.

    For December, the trade deficit narrowed 3.5 percent to $66.6 billion.

    Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the trade gap would shrink to $65.7 billion in December.

    Imports of goods rose 1.5 percent to $217.7 billion in December. Goods exports shot up 4.7 percent to $133.5 billion.