The annual deficit in goods and services increased by $68.8 billion, or 12.5 percent, according to Commerce Department data released today. The December gap jumped from the prior month to $59.8 billion, also a 10-year high and wider than the median estimate of economists. The trade deficit with China, the principal target of President Trump’s trade war, hit a record $419.2 billion in 2018.
The U.S. last year imposed tariffs on $250 billion worth of goods imported from China, with China hitting back with tariffs on $110 billion worth of American products, leading with soybeans. The U.S. has also slapped duties on imported steel, aluminum, solar panels, and washing machines. Trump has since delayed tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports as negotiations to resolve the standoff continue.
Meanwhile, according to sources familiar with the matter, Trump’s economic team has advised him that easing restrictions in the trade war with China will encourage a market rally. Others suggest not backing down after a year-long standoff if it means only securing a relatively weak deal with China.
Did you know?
The majority of the world’s cobalt – a crucial metal for the lithium-ion batteries powering everything from cellular telephones to cars – is mined in exploitative conditions in the Democratic Republic of Congo, often by children.
“Every charging installation faces a variety of variables – number of trucks to charge, local utility rate tariffs and power delivery structure, existing site and local grid details. There are no rules of thumb.”
—Chris Nelder, manager of the Rocky Mountain Institute’s mobility practice
In other news:
Meet Fifth Wall: The venture capital firm that’s helping digital retailers open physical stores
Fifth Wall aims to help online brands, like Untuckit and Taft, open bricks-and-mortar stores. (CNBC)
VW adds Baltimore to its US import network
Logistics hub operator Tradepoint Atlantic has signed a deal with Volkswagen Group of America (VWGoA) to develop a multimodal vehicle processing and storage facility in Baltimore. (Automotive Logistics)
North American robot shipments hit record with big non-automotive growth
Shipments to non-automotive companies grew 41% to 16,702 shipments for the year, with food and consumer goods driving nearly 50% of the growth. (Modern Materials Handling)
Saudi Arabia aims to become large natural gas exporter
Saudi Arabia aims to export as much as 3 billion cubic feet of gas per day by 2030, the chief executive of the Kingdom’s oil giant Saudi Aramco said on Tuesday. (Oilprice.com)
Old Dominion’s revenue per day up 7.5% in February
OD Freight Lines reported Tuesday year-over-year revenue growths for both February and the quarter-to-date for several less-than-truckload (LTL) operating metrics despite a drop in LTL tons per day and LTL weight per shipment. (American Shipper)
The surge in e-commerce fulfillment, combined with a tight supply of last-mile properties, has put extreme pressure on light industrial rents, according to the REIT. From 2000 through the third quarter of 2018, the rent growth of light industrial has been more than twice the rate of rent growth of bulk units. In addition, new light industrial development represents just 1.3 percent of inventory, compared with 5.4 percent for bulk industrial.
Hammer down everyone!