WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US trade gap widened again in May after narrowing in the prior month, according to government data released on Friday (July 2), as imports increased amid surging consumer demand.

The trade deficit in goods and services rose US$2.2 billion to US$71.2 billion, as the US$3.5 billion jump in imports was nearly triple the rise in exports in the month, the Commerce Department reported.

As the world’s largest economy has reopened and recovered faster than other regions, Americans have come out to spend on homes, travel and other goods, and the data showed the trade gap in the first five months of the year far outpaced the same period of 2020 or 2019.

“The trade deficit is poised to remain wide as the fiscally powered, consumer driven recovery in the US runs ahead of the global economic rebound,” Kathy Bostjancic of Oxford Economics said in an analysis of the report.

The report showed big gains in imports of oil, lumber, computers and telecommunications equipment.

The trade deficit with China in goods alone narrowed for the second month in a row, dropping more than US$5 billion to US$27.2 billion.

But the gap with the European Union jumped on a US$2.3 billion increase in imports from the region, the data showed.

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