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Data: Census Bureau via FRED, BEA via FRED; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The U.S. trade and current account deficits are at their deepest level since 2008.

Why it matters: America's underwater trade position was one of the defining complaints of Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, and the Trump administration has spent the past four years waging trade wars in a futile or even counterproductive attempt to turn it around.

By the numbers: America's trade deficit was $63 billion in October, according to the Census Bureau, while the broader current account was in deficit to the tune of $179 billion in the third quarter, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The big picture: The main reason for the weakness of the dollar is just that America is shipping a lot of money overseas to pay for goods and services from abroad. Meanwhile, the coronavirus has cratered demand from foreigners for everything from aircraft to American vacations.

  • Even after the coronavirus recedes, however, the weak dollar is probably here to stay. The main thing that would reverse the trend would be rate hikes from the Federal Reserve, and Fed chair Jay Powell has made it clear that's not going to happen in the foreseeable future.

The bottom line: The trade deficit is in many ways a sign of strength — an indication that the world is eager to sell us trillions of dollars worth of valuable goods and services, in return for nothing but greenbacks. But it still counts as a major policy failure for the Trump administration.

Go deeper

Biden to overturn Trump order excluding undocumented immigrants from census

Biden speaking in New Castle, Delaware, on Jan. 19. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President-elect Biden will sign an executive order Wednesday to revoke the Trump administration’s plan to exclude non-citizens from the census and apportionment of Congressional representatives.

The state of play: The order aims to ensure the Census Bureau has ample time to complete an accurate population count for each state, and introduce an apportionment that is deemed fair and accurate to Congress so that federal resources are efficiently and fairly distributed.

Updated 6 hours ago - World

Skripal poisoning suspects linked to Czech blast, as country expels 18 Russians

Combined images released by British police in 2018 of Alexander Petrov (L) and Ruslan Boshirov, who are suspected of carrying out an attack in the in the southern English city of Salisbury using Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent, and also the2014 Czech depot explosion. Photo: Metropolitan Police via Getty Images

Czech police on Saturday connected two Russian men suspected of carrying out a poisoning attack in Salisbury, England, with a deadly ammunition depot explosion southeast of the capital, Prague, per Reuters.

Driving the news: Czech officials announced Saturday they're expelling 18 Russian diplomats they accuse of being involved in the blast in Vrbětice, AP notes. Czech police said later they're searching for two men carrying several passports — including two with the names Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.

Indianapolis mass shooting suspect legally bought 2 guns, police say

Marion County Forensic Services vehicles are parked at the site of a mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Friday. Photo: Jeff Dean/AFP via Getty Images

The suspected gunman in this week's mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis legally purchased two "assault rifles" believed to have been used in the attack, police said late Saturday.

Of note: The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's statement that Brandon Scott Hole, 19, bought the rifles last July and September comes a day after the FBI told news outlets that a "shotgun was seized" from the suspect in March 2020 after his mother raised concerns about his mental health.