U.S. Trade Deficit in 2020 Worst since 2008, Goods Deficit Worst Ever Despite First Ever Petroleum Surplus. Services Surplus Drops Again.

by Wolf Richter
Wolf Street

But the Trade Fiasco with China was the least terrible since 2013.

The US trade deficit in goods worsened by 6% in 2020, to $916 billion, the biggest and worst ever. Exports of goods plunged by 13.2% to $1.43 trillion, the worst since 2010. Imports of goods during the year fell by 6.6% to $2.35 trillion.

Half of the decline of imports was driven by an $80 billion or 38% plunge in imports of petroleum and petroleum products, to $127 billion, the lowest since 2002, caused by the collapse in crude oil prices, the collapse in demand, and US production from fracking. Combined with US exports of petroleum and petroleum products, it produced the first annual US petroleum trade surplus ($18 billion) on record, according to data by the Commerce Department.

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