The international trad deficit for August was $54.9 billion, a mild increase from the $54.0 billion in July. This is the time of year when US retailers and wholesalers import goods in advance of the holiday shopping season. It remains to be seen if that is fully realized in 2019 in an environment of uncertain trade policy. Given that many retailers are expecting a solid holiday performance, they are probably going ahead with imports to ensure sufficient stocks on hand even if it means higher costs.
So far the data for the third quarter trade balance suggest that the size of the deficit is not dissimilar to that in the second quarter.
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