US trade deficit narrows as exports of services hit record high

Trade gap shrunk to $40.9bn in April, new figures show

Container ships unload their cargo at the Port of Oakland in California. Imports fell 3.3 per cent to $230.8 billion in April

Container ships unload their cargo at the Port of Oakland in California. Imports fell 3.3 per cent to $230.8 billion in April

 

The US trade deficit narrowed in April as exports of services hit a record high and imports fell.

The Commerce Department on Wednesday said the US trade gap shrunk to $40.9 billion in April, down from March’s revised deficit of $50.6 billion. The March deficit was previously reported at $51.4 billion.

The 26.6 per cent drop in the April trade deficit was the largest decrease since early 2009.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast the trade deficit falling to $44 billion.

Imports fell 3.3 per cent to $230.8 billion as West Coast ports, a key entry point for goods to and from Asia, cleared a backlog created by a labour dispute that was settled earlier this year.

Exports increased 1 per cent to $189.9 billion in April. A stronger dollar has in recent months made US goods and services less affordable abroad.

Exports of US services swelled to $60.9 billion, the highest ever recorded.

The politically-sensitive trade gap with China was $26.5 billion, down 15.2 per cent from $31.2 billion in March.

Exports to China were down 5.8 per cent to $9.3 billion, while imports from that country slipped 13 per cent to $35.8 billion.

The April petroleum deficit stood at $6.8 billion, the lowest since March 2002.

Imports from South Korea were the highest ever recorded, while imports from Britain reached their highest level since July 2008. Exports to Canada, a key US trading partner, fell, while those to Mexico rose.

Reuters