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Financial News: U.S. Trade Deficit Unexpectedly Continues To Narrow In

U.S. Trade Deficit Unexpectedly Continues To Narrow In April

06/06/2018 - 09:22:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Amid ongoing concerns about a global trade war, the Commerce Department released a report on Wednesday showing the U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly narrowed in the month of April.

The Commerce Department said the trade deficit narrowed to $46.2 billion in April from a revised $47.2 billion in March.

Economists had expected the deficit to come in unchanged compared to the $49.0 billion originally reported for the previous month.

With the decrease, the trade deficit in April was the smallest since the $44.4 billion deficit seen last September.

The narrower trade deficit was partly due to an increase in the value of exports, which rose by 0.3 percent to a record $211.2 billion in April from $210.7 billion in March.

Increases in exports of industrial supplies and materials and foods, feeds, and beverages were partly offset by a sharp drop in exports of civilian aircraft.

The report also showed a modest decrease in the value of imports, which edged down by 0.2 percent to $257.4 billion in April from $257.9 billion in March.

Imports of cell phones and other household goods and passenger cars showed notable decreases, while imports of crude oil increased.

Michael Pearce, Senior U.S. Economist at Capital Economics, said the narrower trade deficit in April means that net trade should provide another small boost to GDP growth in the second quarter.

"A lot could happen in May and June of course, particularly now that tariffs covering almost $50bn of steel and aluminum imports are in place on key allies including Canada, Mexico and the EU, with those countries imposing retaliation on US exports," Pearce said.

He added, "But real export growth is still being boosted by the past depreciation of the dollar, and business surveys are still consistent with export growth picking up."

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