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U.S. merchandise trade fell in April to lowest level in a decade

May 29. 2020
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By Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Katia Dmitrieva · BUSINESS 

U.S. merchandise trade in April slumped to the lowest level in a decade as the coronavirus pandemic curtailed demand and disrupted supply lines.

Goods exports plummeted 25.2% in April from the prior month, the biggest decline in records back to 1989, to $95.4 billion, according to Commerce Department data released Friday. Imports decreased 14.3%, also the largest yet, to $165 billion. Combined, the value of U.S. exports and imports dropped to $260.4 billion, the lowest since April 2010.

The goods-trade deficit widened to $69.7 billion from a revised $65 billion a month earlier. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a $65 billion gap.

The advance indicators report also showed retail inventories declined 3.6% from March. Wholesale stockpiles rose 0.4%.

The data indicate the second quarter got off to a weaker start as companies and consumers largely remained on lockdown. Analysts use these numbers to adjust estimates for quarterly economic growth.

 

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