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US iron, steel trade deficit jumps 37.2%

Keywords: Tags  iron and steel mill products, copper, aluminum, bauxite, metals trade balance, Alliance for American Manufacturing, Scott Paul, Corinna Petry

CHICAGO — The U.S. trade deficit for iron and steel mill products jumped 37.2 percent to $833 million in November after falling more than 15 percent to $607 million in October, as exports recorded a $52-million drop and imports increased by $174 million.

The year-to-date iron and steel mill products trade deficit rose 17.4 percent to $8.04 billion from $6.85 billion in the first 11 months of 2011, Bureau of Economic Analysis data show.

Copper posted a trade surplus of $77 million in November, down 45.8 percent from $142 million in October following a 41.8-percent decline from September, but the year-to-date trade surplus of $2.72 billion was 87.3 percent higher than $1.45 billion a year earlier.

Imports of bauxite and aluminum increased 3.4 percent to $846 million in November, while exports of aluminum and alumina rose 1.6 percent to $755 million. Imports of tin rose 18.3 percent in November, nickel imports moved up 2.7 percent and zinc imports rose 5.4 percent.

Total U.S. exports of $182.55 billion were offset by imports of $231.28 billion in November, resulting in a goods and services deficit of $48.73 billion, up 15.8 percent from a $42.06-billion deficit in October.

The November data showed a 1.7-percent decline in the trade deficit with China to $28.95 billion but a 15.3-percent jump in the trade deficit with the European Union to $12.2 billion.

"Despite talk of a manufacturing renaissance, we will shatter 2011’s record $295 billion annual trade deficit with China when the data for December comes in," Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), said in a statement.

He cited a recent study that found that the U.S. trade deficit with China "is draining manufacturing jobs from the United States," and said AAM members "want to see reshoring accelerate from a trickle to a trend. We won’t get there unless trade with China comes into balance."

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