US trade deficit widens in April amid COVID-19 fallout
The overall US trade deficit widened by 16.7 percent in April as the COVID-19 pandemic weighed on both imports and exports, the US Commerce Department reported on Thursday.
US imports fell by 13.7 percent to US$200.7 billion in April while exports fell by 20.5 percent to US$151.3 billion, the department said. The overall trade deficit rose by 16.7 percent to US$49.4 billion from a revised US$42.3 billion in March.
The deficit in goods with China rose by US$9 billion to US$26 billion in April, as US exports to China increased to US$9.3 billion while imports from China rose to US$35.2 billion, according to the department.
"The US economy was in lockdown for the entire month of April, factories and businesses were closed or operating at limited capacity and consumers were confined to their homes. It is thus of little surprise that both exports and imports cratered during the month," Tim Quinlan, senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities, wrote on Thursday in a note.
"In fact, April marked the largest monthly decline on record for overall exports and imports as well as for goods. Services still declined but the decline was less bad than in March," he noted.
As some major economies started to reopen by late-April, Quinlan believed that international trade flows should "start to steadily pick-up."