Picture du Jour: Besides China, it’s (almost) all good on U.S. trade imbalances

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“The yearly U.S. trade deficit peaked at 6.4% of GDP in August 2006. It improved significantly after the financial crisis, bottoming out at 3.6% in January 2010. This swing provided a boost to GDP and nudged the U.S. external balance toward a more sustainable level,” said a report by the Council on Foreign Relations. “The deficit then resumed an upward march, reaching 4.3% by November.”

As shown in the chart below, a closer look at America’s bilateral trading relationships since the deficit high-point in 2006 reveals a significant improvement with many countries, and only a small deterioration with a few others. China – with which the U.S. has its largest deficit – is the conspicuous exception, as the diagram shows.

The report concluded: “2011 looks set to be a year of yet further-rising trade tensions between the two countries.”

Click here or on the image below for a larger chart.

Source: Council on Foreign Relations, January 19, 2011.

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