The United States trade gap, the difference between the goods and services being exported from this country and the goods and services coming onto our shores from overseas, rose notably in May, going from April's downwardly revised estimate of a $40.1 billion shortfall to a deficit of $45.0 billion.

The May tally was the largest trade imbalance thus far this year. In all, exports eased, while imports rose notably. This latest metric suggests that second-quarter GDP growth could well have been pressured a bit more than we had forecast, as the gross domestic product is composed of domestic economic output, plus exports, minus imports. As of this point, we sense that June-period GDP increased by a subdued 1.5%, or so.

Meanwhile, exports inched lower last month, dropping from $187.6 billion to $187.1 billion. At the same time, imports jumped from April's estimated $227.7 billion to $232.1 billion in May.

By region, the goods deficit with the European Union decreased from $12.4 billion in April to $10.8 in May. On the other hand, the goods deficit with China jumped sharply from $24.1 billion to $27.9 billion, a leap of nearly 16%.

As to individual categories, the decrease in goods being exported reflected shortfalls in consumer goods, industrial supplies and materials, and foods and beverages. The April-to-May increase in imports were principally reflective of increases in industrial supplies and materials, and automotive parts, and capital goods.

On balance, this report was somewhat disappointing, with the widening in the deficit exceeding the consensus forecast of a flat trade gap shortfall. As noted, a slight penalty to aggregate GDP growth may result.

At the time of this article's writing, the author did not have positions in any of the companies mentioned.