WASHINGTON — The U.S. foreign trade deficit soared to a record $33.1 billion from July through September as American farm sales skidded to their lowest pace in more than six years, the government reported Wednesday.
The deficit for the third quarter topped the old record of $30.9 billion set in the October-December period of 1984 and was 15.9% higher than the $28.6-billion deficit in the second quarter this year.
The new report showing a deterioration in the country's merchandise trade deficit confirms parallel figures released two weeks ago that showed an even larger $38.3-billion deficit in the third quarter this year. The latest report, covering merchandise trade on a balance-of-payments basis, is smaller because it omits such factors as military sales and the cost of shipping and insurance.
For the first nine months of this year, the trade deficit is running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $113.6 billion, slightly lower than the $114.1-billion deficit for all of 1984.