The U.S. trade shortage climbed to $50.2 billion in May, a record high since October 2008, as oil prices and imports skyrocketed according to a report release by the Commerce Department.
Rising 15 percent from 43.6 billion in April, the deficit (seasonally adjusted) has not been this high since the recession came to a peak, shocking analysts who only predicted a small increase.
While exports declined by $1 million after two months of steady rising, the report shows that imports increased by $5.6 billion to a whopping $225.1 billion as a result of an influx of crude oil imports into the US. Following suit, other imports such as computers and automotive vehicles and parts increased as well.
Partly resulting from Japan's rebound from the earthquake that hit in March, imports of foreign auto parts have slowed American automobile production, which explains the low export and high import ration reported. As it continues to recover, Japanese factories will begin to send more auto shipments in the coming months, according to the New York Times.
Oil prices in May, at approximately $108 per barrel, triggered the import increase, with etroleum products accounted for more than half of the increase in the trade gap, as reported by The Atlantic.
Severe shortages of trade with Canada and China, the U.S.'s first and second largest trading partners respectively, have accrued cause for the high trade gap in May, as well.