U.S. imports and exports both fell in April, with a larger drop in imports leading to a narrowing of the U.S. trade deficit for the month.
According to Commerce Department figures released Friday, the U.S. exported $182.9 billion worth of goods and services, while imports were tallied at $233 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $50.1 billion.
While the resulting trade deficit of $50.1 billion is narrower than the $52.6 billion recorded in March, it is still wider than the $49.3 billion deficit level predicted by most economists.
Additionally, revisions to March figures put the trade deficit for that month at $52.6 billion, somewhat wider than the $51.8 billion initially reported.
Total exports for April fell by 0.8 percent from March levels, while overall import levels dropped by 1.7 percent.
Despite the decrease in exports, the total level remains the second highest on record, in raw dollar terms, a statistic matched by the April imports level, also the second highest on record. The records for both figures were set in March.
The U.S. deficit in the import and export of goods shrank $2.7 million from March levels to a total of $64.8 billion, while the services surplus shrank $100 million to a total of $14.8 billion.
The smaller goods deficit came as a result of a drop imports outpacing the shrinking levels of exports. On the services side of the ledger, exports decreased while imports increased.
The decrease in exports of goods came largely as a result of falling capital goods and industrial supplies exports, offsetting increased exports of foods, automobiles and parts, and consumer goods.
The U.S. trade deficit with China widened to $24.6 billion in April from $21.7 billion in March, with the deficits in trade with OPEC nations, Canada and South Korea also widening.
Likely contributing to the trade deficit with OPEC, the average price of an imported barrel of crude oil, at $109.94, was the highest since August 2008.
The U.S. also continued to run trade deficits with Japan, Mexico, Germany, Nigeria and Taiwan, though the levels fell somewhat from March.
U.S. trade surpluses with Hong Kong, Australia and Egypt continued, with the surplus to Hong Kong widening, although the surpluses with Australia and Egypt narrowed somewhat.
In the advanced technology sector, exports ran to $23.7 billion in April with imports at $30.3 billion, resulting in a $6.7 billion deficit.
by RTT Staff Writer
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