U.S. Merchandise Trade Fell in April to Lowest Level in a Decade

U.S. Merchandise Trade Fell in April to Lowest Level in a Decade

Bloomberg  | May 29, 2020 21:00

U.S. Merchandise Trade Fell in April to Lowest Level in a Decade

(Bloomberg) -- 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.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

© Bloomberg. Trucks wait in line to enter the Port of Oakland in Oakland, California, U.S., on Thursday, March 19, 2020. The spread of the coronavirus pandemic is scrambling supply chains in everything from crude oil to copper and foodstuffs, with many countries reporting a shortage of containers. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

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