US trade deficit drops to smallest since before 2016 election

  • Commerce Department said the trade deficit, the gap between what the U.S. exports and what it imports from foreign countries, was $43.1 billion for the month of May, down 6.6 percent from April.
  • The trade deficit is at its lowest level since October 2016, a month before the presidential election. It has also fallen for three consecutive months and is down year over year.
A spotter lines up a truck before a container is loaded from a ship in the Seagirt Marine Terminal at the Port of Baltimore.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A spotter lines up a truck before a container is loaded from a ship in the Seagirt Marine Terminal at the Port of Baltimore.

The monthly trade deficit is at its lowest levels during the Trump presidency.

On Friday the Commerce Department revealed that the trade deficit, the gap between what the U.S. exports and what it imports from foreign countries, was $43.1 billion for the month of May, down 6.6 percent from April.

May exports rose by 1.9 percent from the previous month to $215.3 billion, while imports increased by 0.4 percent to $258.4 billion.

The trade deficit is at its lowest level since October 2016, a month before the presidential election. It has also fallen for three consecutive months and is down year over year.

The data release came on the same day the U.S. and China started their trade war with both countries instituting tariffs on $34 billion worth of the other country's goods.