US imports are at a five-year low, according to data released today by the US Department of Commerce. But while trade with the vast majority of countries has declined since March, US imports from China are growing.
What happened? The value of US imports dropped to $ 164 billion in May, the lowest monthly figure in more than five years. Nevertheless, imports from China, the United States’ largest source of imports, increased over a decade, from a ten-year high of $ 20.7 billion in March to $ 36.6 billion in May.
Why it matters: More US imports from China are probably the result of the service of suspended demand from the first quarter of 2020, when disruptions in the supply chain stopped many US companies from buying imports outside the country. The US trade surplus with China ̵
Why it is interesting: Even through a pandemic and a trade war, the United States continues to be extremely dependent on Chinese goods. After falling out of the top spot in February and March, China was once again the United States’ main source of imports in April and May.
How to find more data: Check USA Trade Online for the best and most up-to-date US-specific information. For international statistics, the International Trade Center’s Trade Map dashboard has detailed, easy-to-use data on trade between countries.
This story is part of a new series we try, “The Thing”, where we explore what a single chart can tell about the global economy.