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US trade gap widens

By: | at 08:00 PM | International Trade  

A report from the Commerce Department showed the U.S. trade deficit edged up to $40.3 billion in April from $40 billion from March as exports fell. Markets had expected a gap of $41.0 billion.

The slightly wider trade deficit reflected a 0.7 percent drop in exports in April after a surge in March. Imports dipped 0.4 percent.

Exports had risen most months since hitting a trough in April 2009, when world trade was still reeling from the effects of the global financial crisis. The politically sensitive trade gap with China widened 14.3 percent in April to $19.3 billion.

Analysts said the fall in exports in April was unrelated to the debt crisis in Europe, and predicted only limited impact on export growth from the austerity measures adopted by some governments in the region to slash huge budget deficits.

“The crisis in Europe didn’t really escalate until May. Instead, the fall (in exports in April) most probably reflects the normal volatility of the monthly data,” said Paul Dales, a U.S. economist at Capital Economics in Toronto.

“The problems in Europe are likely to have only a very modest impact on U.S. activity. That said, a more widespread slowdown in global growth and the stronger dollar will push the U.S. trade deficit wider next year,” he said.

CHINA’S EXPORTS BOOMING
Europe’s fiscal woes appear not to have had an impact on global trade yet. China’s total exports rose 48.5 percent in May from a year earlier and imports were up 48.3 percent,, giving China a trade surplus of $19.5 billion, up from just $1.7 billion in April. (Reuters)