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Expand chart
Data: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis via FRED; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. trade balance fell to a deficit of $63.6 billion in July, $10 billion larger than the month before, and the biggest monthly deficit since July 2008.

Why it matters: The spike in the trade deficit comes despite President Trump's trade war with China and tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of imports from China, Europe and other countries, as well as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, which went into effect this year.

  • The increase between the deficit in July 2016 and July 2020 is "especially notable given the drop in trade flows related to the COVID-19 pandemic," liberal think tank Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch director Lori Wallach said in a statement.
  • "Comparing the trade flows in the first seven months of 2019 to the same period in 2020, U.S. trade has decreased 15%."

By the numbers: The $340 billion trade deficit in the first seven months of 2020 is 12.2% higher than during the same period in 2016.

  • The trade deficit with China was $3 billion more on the month at $31.6 billion.
  • The deficit with Europe also increased $3 billion from the prior month, to $23.1 billion.
  • The July 2020 surplus in services trade was the smallest since August 2012, at $17.4 billion.

But, but, but: While much of Trump's foreign policy has seemed driven by an intolerance for trade deficits, they are not necessarily bad for the economy.

Go deeper

Global carbon dioxide emissions fell by 7% in 2020

Water vapor from the cooling towers of a power plant in Brandenburg, Germany, in November 2020. Photo: Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

Global carbon dioxide emissions fell by an estimated 7% in 2020, according to a study by the Global Carbon Project published in the journal Earth System Science Data on Thursday.

Why it matters: It's likely the largest fall in carbon emission ever recorded and is largely the result of the coronavirus pandemic keeping people at home.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

U.S. releases report finding Saudi prince approved Khashoggi operation

Photo: Bandar Algaloud / Saudi Kingdom Council / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has released an unclassified report assessing that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) approved the operation to "capture or kill" Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

Driving the news: The White House also announced sanctions on entities implicated in the murder, though not on MBS directly. Officials also announced a new "Khashoggi ban" under which individuals accused of harassing journalists or dissidents outside their borders can be barred from entering the U.S.

About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says

Joe Biden speaks during an event commemorating the 50 million COVID-19 vaccine shots. Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

Nearly 1 in 5 adults and nearly half of Americans 65 and older have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, White House senior adviser Andy Slavitt said on Friday.

The big picture: The Biden administration has previously said it has secured enough doses to vaccinate most of the American population by the end of July.