The U.S. trade deficit dropped in May to the lowest level in 19 months as U.S. exports rose to a record level. But the trade gap between the United States and China increased sharply, underscoring the economic tensions between the world's two biggest economies.
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The Commerce Department says the May trade deficit — the difference between what America sells and what it buys in foreign markets — fell 6.6 percent to $43.1 billion. It was the smallest imbalance since October 2016.
Exports climbed 1.9 percent to a record $215.3 billion. Imports were up a smaller 0.4 percent to $258.4 billion.
The United States imposed penalty tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods on Friday. China retaliated in kind, starting what Beijing called the "biggest trade war in economic history."