US trade deficit reached 10-year high in October

The U.S. trade deficit hit $55.5 billion in October, the highest it's been since 2008.

The Commerce Department said Thursday the U.S.' trade gap grew by nearly $1 billion between September and October. Economists point to a few factors behind a surge in U.S. imports and a decline in exports.

For one, some American companies have been stocking up on Chinese goods before a tariff hike that was supposed to kick in early next year. Americans are also spending more on foreign goods thanks to a strong economy. But a strong economy can be a double-edged sword because it also raises the dollar's value, making American products more expensive in foreign markets.

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Dow falls over 700 points after Trump announces China tariff plan
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Dow falls over 700 points after Trump announces China tariff plan
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Traders and financial professionals work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the closing bell, March 22, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down more than 700 points on Thursday afternoon. Markets reacted to the Trump administration� announcement of approximately $50 billion worth of yearly tariffs on Chinese imports. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 22, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is displayed on a screen after the closing bell, over the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 22, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 22, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is displayed on a screen after the closing bell, over the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 22, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Traders and financial professionals work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the closing bell, March 22, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down more than 700 points on Thursday afternoon. Markets reacted to the Trump administration� announcement of approximately $50 billion worth of yearly tariffs on Chinese imports. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: A monitor displays the day's final numbers on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the closing bell, March 22, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down more than 700 points on Thursday afternoon. Markets reacted to the Trump administration� announcement of approximately $50 billion worth of yearly tariffs on Chinese imports. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: A trader works at his desk on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the closing bell, March 22, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down more than 700 points on Thursday afternoon. Markets reacted to the Trump administration� announcement of approximately $50 billion worth of yearly tariffs on Chinese imports. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Traders and financial professionals work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the closing bell, March 22, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down more than 700 points on Thursday afternoon. Markets reacted to the Trump administration� announcement of approximately $50 billion worth of yearly tariffs on Chinese imports. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: A monitor displays the day's final numbers on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the closing bell, March 22, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down more than 700 points on Thursday afternoon. Markets reacted to the Trump administration� announcement of approximately $50 billion worth of yearly tariffs on Chinese imports. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Traders and financial professionals work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the closing bell, March 22, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down more than 700 points on Thursday afternoon. Markets reacted to the Trump administration� announcement of approximately $50 billion worth of yearly tariffs on Chinese imports. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: A monitor displays the day's final numbers on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the closing bell, March 22, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down more than 700 points on Thursday afternoon. Markets reacted to the Trump administration� announcement of approximately $50 billion worth of yearly tariffs on Chinese imports. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Traders and financial professionals work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the closing bell, March 22, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down more than 700 points on Thursday afternoon. Markets reacted to the Trump administration� announcement of approximately $50 billion worth of yearly tariffs on Chinese imports. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Traders and financial professionals work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the closing bell, March 22, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down more than 700 points on Thursday afternoon. Markets reacted to the Trump administration� announcement of approximately $50 billion worth of yearly tariffs on Chinese imports. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: A monitor displays the day's final numbers on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the closing bell, March 22, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down more than 700 points on Thursday afternoon. Markets reacted to the Trump administration� announcement of approximately $50 billion worth of yearly tariffs on Chinese imports. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: Traders and financial professionals work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ahead of the closing bell, March 22, 2018 in New York City. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down more than 700 points on Thursday afternoon. Markets reacted to the Trump administration� announcement of approximately $50 billion worth of yearly tariffs on Chinese imports. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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But the biggest reason for the gap is probably the U.S.' trade war with China. The Trump administration hit China with tariffs on $250 billion worth of its imports, and China retaliated with its own tariffs on U.S. imports. 

The U.S.' soybean exports were hit particularly hard. Until recently, China had taken in more than half of annual U.S. soybean exports. But The New York Times reports tariffs on U.S. soybeans have driven down sales to China by 94 percent since the same time last year.

With all of that being said, President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping did agree Saturday to hold off on imposing more tariffs for 90 days will they try to negotiate a deal.

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