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Financial News: U.S. Trade Deficit Widens Slightly Less Than Expected

U.S. Trade Deficit Widens Slightly Less Than Expected To $50.0 Billion

05/09/2019 - 09:48:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - With imports rising by slightly more than exports, the Commerce Department released a report on Thursday showing the U.S. trade deficit widened in the month of March.

The report said the trade deficit widened to $50.0 billion in March from a revised $49.3 billion in February. Economists had expected the deficit to widen to $50.2 billion.

The wider trade deficit came as the value of imports surged up by 1.1 percent to $262.0 billion in March from $259.2 billion in February.

The value of crude oil imports showed a significant increase amid higher prices, while imports of cell phones and other household goods and foods, feeds, and beverages also saw notable growth.

Meanwhile, the report said the value of exports jumped by 1.0 percent to $212.0 billion in March from $209.9 billion in February.

The increase in exports reflected a spike in exports of industrial supplies and materials as well as growth in exports of soybeans.

Paul Ashworth, Chief U.S. Economist at Capital Economics, noted the increase in soybean exports is "at risk of being reversed in the coming months if the U.S.-China trade talks collapse amid acrimony and higher tariffs this week."

The report said the politically-sensitive trade deficit with China narrowed to $28.3 billion in March from $30.1 billion in February.

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