U.S. Trade Deficit Widens in April

The U.S. trade deficit grew slightly in April, almost exactly what the market expected, the Commerce Dept. reported on Wednesday. Both total exports of $121.1 billion, and total imports of $150.3 billion, declined in April with exports down $2.8 billion and imports down $2.2 billion.

The U.S. deficit in international trade of goods and services widened to $29.16 billion from a revised $28.53 billion in March, as falling imports leveled off slightly and exports to other countries continued to slump.

For the three months ending in April, exports of goods and services averaged $123.8 billion, while imports of goods and services averaged $151.7 billion, equaling an average trade deficit of $27.9 billion.

Although exports are down 21.8% on a Y/Y basis, imports are down 30.7%, resulting in a monthly trade deficit $33 billion which is nowhere near the monthly imbalances of more than $60 billion last year.

Imports of crude oil rose $1 billion for the month, as the U.S. bill for crude oil imports in April rose to $13.63 billion from $11.98 billion a month earlier. The the total value of crude-oil imports is down sharply this year compared to 2008. Economists however, expect that the imports-exports gap to keep increasing if oil heads higher. Crude import volumes rose to 292.60 million barrels from 289.69 million further boosting the oil import total.

Graph: Census Bureau

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