With the value of exports falling by more than the value of imports, the U.S. trade deficit for March came in wider than in the previous month, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Tuesday.
The report showed that the trade deficit widened to $27.6 billion in March from a revised $26.1 billion in February. Economists had expected the deficit to widen to $29.0 billion compared to the $26.0 billion originally reported for the previous month.
While the trade deficit in March is wider than in the previous month, it is much narrower than the $57.4 billion deficit reported for the same month a year ago.
A notable decrease in the value of exports contributed to the wider deficit, with the value of exports falling 2.4 percent to $123.6 billion in March from $126.6 billion in February. With the decrease, the value of exports fell to its lowest level since August of 2006.
The drop in the value of exports outpaced a more modest decrease in the value of imports, which edged down 1 percent to $151.2 billion in March from $152.8 billion in the previous month. The value of imports still fell to their lowest level since September of 2004.
Commenting on the data, Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak, noted that the annualized trade deficit has fallen to 2.4 percent of GDP from a peak of about 6 percent in 2005.
However, he added, While the global imbalances have certainly come a long way in correcting themselves, its been done more with the drop in imports than a jump in exports.
The Commerce Department also said that the goods deficit widened to $38.4 billion in March from $37.1 billion in February, while the services surplus narrowed to $10.8 billion from $11.0 billion in the previous month.
Additionally, the report showed that the politically sensitive trade deficit with China widened to $15.6 billion in March from $14.2 billion in February.
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