US trade gap widens to largest in 18 months

US trade gap widens to largest in 18 months

The US trade deficit came in at $74.6 billion in April, widening from March's level, according to government data
The US trade deficit came in at $74.6 billion in April, widening from March's level, according to government data. Photo: JUSTIN SULLIVAN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/Getty Images via AFP/File
Source: AFP

PAY ATTENTION: Let yourself be inspired by real people who go beyond the ordinary! Subscribe and watch our new shows on Briefly TV Life now!

The US trade deficit expanded slightly less than analysts expected in April, to the widest since late 2022, as imports rose more quickly than exports, according to government data released Thursday.

The overall gap was $74.6 billion, growing from March's revised $68.6 billion figure, said the Commerce Department.

This was the largest deficit since October 2022, according to official data.

US consumption has been more resilient than anticipated even as the central bank rapidly hiked interest rates to dampen demand -- and this has helped to support imports.

But with weaker global demand, there have been concerns that export growth would not be able to keep up.

Investors are also watching the Federal Reserve for the outcome of its policy meeting next week, looking for hints on when it might start cutting interest rates.

Read also

Asian markets in reverse as US data spark economy worries

"The early data are pointing to a drag from trade in the second quarter," said Rubeela Farooqi, chief US economist at High Frequency Economics.

In April, imports grew by 2.4 percent to $338.2 billion, while exports rose by 0.8 percent to $263.7 billion, said the Commerce Department.

The jump in imports was largely due to an increase in goods such as automotive vehicles, the report added.

Goods exports, meanwhile, also picked up but by a smaller degree, with a rise seen in products like pharmaceutical preparations and electric apparatus, data showed.

"Imports have been supported by strong domestic demand and lean inventories," said Matthew Martin, US economist at Oxford Economics.

"Exports have contended with a weaker global backdrop and a strong dollar which makes domestic goods relatively more expensive abroad," he added.

The goods deficit with China, a point of contention in US-China competition, dropped by $2.5 billion to $22.1 billion in April. This was mainly due to a decrease in imports.

PAY ATTENTION: Сheck out news that is picked exactly for YOU - click on “Recommended for you” and enjoy!

Source: AFP

AFP avatar

AFP AFP text, photo, graphic, audio or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. AFP news material may not be stored in whole or in part in a computer or otherwise except for personal and non-commercial use. AFP will not be held liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions in any AFP news material or in transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages whatsoever. As a newswire service, AFP does not obtain releases from subjects, individuals, groups or entities contained in its photographs, videos, graphics or quoted in its texts. Further, no clearance is obtained from the owners of any trademarks or copyrighted materials whose marks and materials are included in AFP material. Therefore you will be solely responsible for obtaining any and all necessary releases from whatever individuals and/or entities necessary for any uses of AFP material.

Online view pixel