Exports Drop, Trade Deficit Rises

Exports Drop, Trade Deficit Rises

The U.S. trade deficit hit a 16-month high in April as exports declined faster than imports, the Commerce Department reported.

Exports during April totaled $148.8 billion, down 0.7 percent from March, while imports slipped 0.4 percent to $189.1 billion. The result was a trade deficit of $40.3 billion in April, up 0.6 percent from March.

The report increased economists’ concerns about the strength of the economic recovery. A particular concern is the drop in the euro’s value against the dollar, a change that could weaken demand for U.S. exports to Europe.

U.S. Trade data: By the Numbers.

Economists have been forecasting an increased deficit this year as consumers step up spending on imported goods. Through April, the trade deficit was running at an annual rate of $466.6 billion, up 25 percent from last year, when low oil prices and weak consumer demand held down imports.

As usual, China accounted for nearly half of the trade deficit. The U.S. trade deficit with China increased 14.3 percent in April to $19.3 billion, the highest level since November.

U.S. exports to China dropped 9.4 percent, reflecting declines in sales of soybeans, motor vehicles and parts and cotton. Imports from China rose 6.6 percent, led by increased sales of computers, household appliances and cell phones.

--Contact Joseph Bonney at jbonney@joc.com.