March Trade Deficit Widens to $27.6 billion

The Department of Commerce announced today that the total U.S. trade deficit in goods and services increased slightly to $27.6 billion in March. The consensus expected a larger increase to $29.0 billion. The U.S. trade deficit rose in March for the first time since last July.

The goods and services deficit decreased in March $29.8 billion on a  Y/Y basis. Exports were down
$26.0 billion, or 17.4%, and imports were down $55.9 billion, or 27.0%. As a result, the monthly trade deficit is $29.8 billion smaller than last year.

From CB: The March 2008 to March 2009 change in exports of goods reflected decreases in industrial supplies and materials ($9.4 billion); capital goods ($6.4 billion); automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($3.6 billion); foods, feeds, and beverages ($2.0 billion); other goods ($0.9 billion); and consumer goods ($0.4 billion).

The March 2008 to March 2009 change in imports of goods reflected decreases in industrial supplies and materials ($27.8 billion); automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($9.7 billion); capital goods ($8.7 billion); consumer goods ($4.9 billion); other goods ($0.8 billion); and foods, feeds, and beverages ($0.4 billion).

Adjusted for inflation, the trade deficit in goods was $35.9 billion in March, $11.7 billion smaller than last year, indicating that trade is adding to real GDP.

The deficit with China rose 10% to $15.6 billion in March. In Q1’09, the deficit with China is running 10% below last year’s pace.

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