Oil imports lift US trade deficit

The US trade deficit jumped to a near five-year high in January as rising oil prices helped to push up the import bill, pointing to slower economic growth in the first quarter and posing a challenge for the Trump administration. President Donald Trump took office with a pledge to boost annual economic growth to four percent and renegotiate trade deals in favor of the United States. Mr. Trump blames US trade policy for the loss of American factory jobs and the import-driven surge in the trade gap could intensify the debate on a cross-border tax. “Team Trump really has their work cut out for them if they are going to stick with the campaign pledge to double growth,” said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York. “If it is not made in America then we don’t want it is what the Trump administration is saying.”

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