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US trade deficit rises helped by huge Olympics payment

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The US trade deficit edged higher in August as gold shipments boosted exports while imports rose in part on a huge Olympics broadcast rights payment, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

[WASHINGTON] The US trade deficit edged higher in August as gold shipments boosted exports while imports rose in part on a huge Olympics broadcast rights payment, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

But trade growth and the deficit remained close to recent lows, reflecting the slow global economy.

Exports were bolstered for a second month by strong soybean shipments, worth US$5.2 billion, and with a US$932 million surge in gold exports offsetting a US$790 million fall in aircraft deliveries.

On the import side, shipments of cellphones, crude oil and aircraft surged.

Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics said another noteworthy factor in the deficit rise was a 38 per cent rise to US$1.2 billion in foreign charges for the use of intellectual property: payment for Olympics broadcast rights.

In all the monthly deficit for goods and services came in at US$40.7 billion, up from US$39.6 billion in July. Exports rose 1.2 per cent to US$185.7 billion, while imports were up 0.8 per cent at US$227.4 billion.

Although trade remains relatively weak, the deficit is at a healthy level, according to analysts. For the first eight months of the year, the deficit was US$330.7 billion, 1.3 per cent below the same period in 2015.

AFP