U.S. Trade Gap Narrows, Experts Say It's Only Temporary
Thursday, June 09, 2021 10:20 AM

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The U.S. trade gap narrowed in April in what most trade experts are calling a fluke caused by the natural disasters that hit Japan in March.

Imports from Japan dropped $2.5 billion from March to April. The overall trade gap was down $3.1 billion to $43.7 billion from March's $46.8 billion, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Economists and trade analysts quoted in stories about the trade gap said it's hard to read much into the numbers other than Japan's natural disasters weakened the country temporarily.

Exports were helped by a weak U.S. dollar that led to strong shipments of industrial supplies and materials and capital goods products.

Total April exports totaled $175.6 billion, $2.2 billion more than March, and imports totaled $219.2 billion, $1.0 billion less than March.

April, the goods deficit decreased $3.0 billion from March to $58.1 billion, and the services surplus increased $0.2 billion to $14.4 billion.  Exports of goods increased $2.0 billion to $126.4 billion, and imports of goods decreased $1.0 billion to $184.5 billion.

Exports of services increased $0.2 billion to $49.1 billion, and imports of services were virtually unchanged at $34.7 billion.

The goods and services deficit increased $2.2 billion from April 2010 to April 2011. Exports were up $27.8 billion, or 18.8 percent, and imports were up $30.0 billion, or 15.9 percent.

The March to April increase in exports of goods reflected increases in industrial supplies and materials ($2.0 billion); capital goods ($1.2 billion); and consumer goods ($0.3 billion).   Decreases occurred in automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($0.8 billion); other goods ($0.5 billion); and foods, feeds, and beverages ($0.2 billion).

The March to April decrease in imports of goods reflected decreases in automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($2.8 billion) and industrial supplies and materials ($1.5 billion). Increases occurred in consumer goods ($2.1 billion); capital goods ($0.6 billion); foods, feeds, and beverages ($0.4 billion); and other goods ($0.2 billion).

Goods (Census Basis)

The April figures show surpluses, in billions of dollars, with Hong Kong $2.6 ($2.7 for March), Singapore $1.2 ($0.9), Australia $1.1 ($1.1), and Egypt $0.5 ($0.4).  Deficits were recorded, in billions of dollars, with China $21.6 ($18.1), OPEC $9.6 ($10.8), European Union $7.5 ($9.0), Mexico $5.5 ($6.2), Germany $3.8 ($4.6), Japan $3.6 ($6.1), Ireland $3.0 ($2.6), Venezuela $2.8 ($3.0), Nigeria $2.5 ($2.5), Canada $2.5 ($2.6), Taiwan $1.2 ($0.6) and Korea $1.0 ($0.6).

 

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