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The goods and services U.S. trade deficit rose 10.06 percent in May even though the current dollar oil shortfall remained at a post-March, 1999 bottom, the real oil deficit hit its third straight record monthly low, and inflation-adjusted oil exports hit their fifth straight all-time high. Leading the trade gap back up were wider deficits for China and high tech goods, and manufactures, as well as the second straight record monthly import total for services. Moreover, the non-oil goods Made in Washington trade deficit kept increasing, and through the first quarter has chopped a cumulative $430 billion (some 20 percent) off American real growth during the current subpar recovery.

Here are selected highlights of the latest monthly (May) trade balance figures released this morning by the Census Bureau:

>The U.S. goods and services trade deficit rose by 10.06 percent on month in May to hit its highest level since February. The increase from a downwardly adjusted $37.38 billion to $41.14 billion occurred despite favorable new records in America’s dramatically improving oil trade performance.

>The inflation-adjusted U.S. oil trade deficit hit its third straight monthly low in May, dropping 4.89 percent sequentially, from $7.52 billion to $7.15 billion.

>Real U.S. oil exports, meanwhile, climbed by 2.40 percent, from April’s $9.94 billion to $10.18 billion – their fifth straight monthly all-time high.

>Current dollar U.S. oil trade numbers were better in May, too. Before adjusting for prices, the oil trade deficit fell by 5.78 percent from April’s levels, which represented a 15-month low.

>By contrast, both the inflation-adjusted and pre-inflation Made in Washington trade deficits – the non-oil goods flows that are heavily affected by American trade policies – rose to their highest levels since February.

>The real non-oil goods deficit, which is part of the most closely watched real (gross domestic product) GDP calculation, hit $59.26 billion, 6.88 percent higher than April’s level. The pre-inflation non-oil goods deficit, which is used to calculate the monthly headline trade number, was $58.20 billion, up 7.06 percent on month.

>Year-to-date, the non-oil goods deficit is up 4.27 percent on a pre-inflation basis and by 4.35 percent after adjusting for price changes.

>Through the first quarter of this year, the growth of the real non-oil goods deficit has slowed U.S. economic growth during this anemic recovery by more than twenty percent – some $430 billion.

>The May trade figures also showed that U.S. services imports hit their second straight all-time monthly record. At $41.44 billion, they were fractionally higher than the upwardly revised April figure.

>Services exports declined by 0.15 percent on month in May, but combined with the import increase, produced a 0.48 percent sequential fall in the services surplus to $21.20 billion – the second straight post-December, 2013 low for this figure.

>Helping fuel the worsening of in the Made in Washington trade deficit was major deterioration in U.S. goods trade with China, in manufactures, and in high tech goods.

>The May merchandise trade deficit with China reached $29.02 billion – 19.38 percent higher than April’s figure and the worst such data since last November’s $31.29 billion.

>U.S. goods exports to China rose fell month in May by 1.72 percent, from $8.67 billion to $8.52 billion.

>By contrast, U.S. goods imports from China jumped sequentially by 12.01 percent, from $32.97 billion to $37.54 billion. That figure represented the highest total since last December.

>At the same time, the U.S. merchandise trade deficit with China is down 6.44 percent on a year-to-date basis.

>The large, chronic U.S. trade deficit in manufacturing swelled by 12.92 percent sequentially in May, from 64.65 to $73.00 billion.

>U.S. manufacturing exports edged up on month in May by 0.58 percent – from $88.23 billion to $88.74 billion.

>But the far greater amount of U.S. manufacturing imports rose ten times faster – by 5.80 percent – from $152.88 billion to $161.74 billion.

>Year-to-date, the manufacturing trade deficit is running 2.96 percent ahead of last year’s record $830 billion total. Manufactures exports are down 7.51 percent during this period, but manufactures imports are off only 3.23 percent.

>America’s longstanding but volatile trade deficit in advanced technology products hit a post-December high of $6.73 billion in May – soaring 40.18 percent over April’s $4.80 billion.

>High tech goods exports dipped on month by 2.01 percent, to $27.95 billion, while imports increased by 4.07 percent, to $34.68 billion.

>Year-to-date, the high tech goods deficit is still down 11.52 percent, on slightly higher exports and somewhat lower imports.

>In another noteworthy bilateral development, the May U.S. goods trade shortfall with relatively recent free trade agreement partner South Korea plunged by nearly 23 percent on month, mainly because American merchandise exports improved by just under 24 percent, to $3.67 billion – their best performance since last August.

>Year-to-date, however, the U.S goods deficit with Korea has grown by 15.19 percent, and on a monthly basis, it’s four-and-a-half times greater than when the bilateral trade deal went into effect in March, 2012.

>According to the May trade figures, combined good and services exports were down 0.17 percent sequentially, from a downwardly revised $182.67 billion to $182.35 billion.

>Overall exports, however, rose nearly ten times faster – by 1.57 percent – to $223.50 billion from a downwardly revised $220.05 billion.

>Year-to-date, the goods and services trade deficit is running 3.58 percent below last year’s pace. Overall exports are down 4.94 percent compared with the first five months of 2015, while overall imports are 4.68 percent lower.

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