Haver Analytics
Haver Analytics
| May 26 2023

U.S. Goods Trade Deficit Widens in April; Largest Since October

  • $96.77 billion deficit in April, larger than expected.
  • Exports decline 5.5%, the deepest m/m fall since April ’20, reflecting drops in most end-use categories.
  • Imports rebound 1.8%, the first m/m increase since January.

The advance estimate of the U.S. international trade deficit in goods widened to $96.77 billion in April, the biggest since October, after narrowing to $82.70 billion in March, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This was the first time since January that the goods deficit had widened. The April deficit was smaller than a $106.80 billion shortfall in April 2022. A $86.5 billion deficit had been expected by the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The deficit had reached a peak of $125.14 billion in March 2022. The goods trade deficit narrowed to $265.16 billion in Q1'23, the smallest since Q2'21, after widening to $270.05 billion in Q4'22. In Q1'23, a trade deficit in goods & services (net exports) added 0%-point to Q1 real GDP growth after having added 0.4%-points in Q4'22.

Total exports fell 5.5% m/m (-5.8% y/y) in April, the second monthly fall in three months and the deepest since April 2020, after a 2.1% increase in March. However, exports have risen 4.9% since a January 2022 low. Total imports rose 1.8% m/m (-7.1% y/y) in April, the first monthly rise in three months, after a 1.9% drop in March. Nevertheless, imports have fallen 11.3% since a March 2022 high.

The fall in exports in April reflected exports m/m drops of 11.9% (+11.1% y/y) in other goods, 9.8% (-15.5% y/y) in industrial supplies & materials, 7.4% (+2.2% y/y) in consumer goods excluding autos, 2.1% (+7.6% y/y) in automotive vehicles & parts, and 0.8% (+4.0% y/y) in capital goods excluding autos. Exports of foods, feeds & beverages were the only end-use category with a small 0.1% increase (-18.3% y/y) in April; it was the fourth m/m gain in five months following a 5.2% March decline.

The rise in imports in April reflected imports m/m increases of 6.0% (10.5% y/y) in automotive vehicles & parts, 2.7% (-15.7% y/y) in industrial supplies & materials, 2.2% (-13.2% y/y) in consumer goods excluding autos, and 0.5% (0.7% y/y) in other goods. To the downside, imports of foods, feeds & beverages (-2.7% m/m; -8.8% y/y) and capital goods excluding autos (-0.2% m/m; -1.4% y/y) posted their monthly decreases.

The advance international trade data can be found in Haver's USECON database. The expectation figure is from the Action Economics Forecast Survey, which is in AS1REPNA.

  • Winnie Tapasanun has been working for Haver Analytics since 2013. She has almost 20 years of working in the financial services industry. As Vice President and Economic Analyst at Globicus International, Inc., a New York-based company specializing in macroeconomics and financial markets, Winnie oversaw the company’s business operations, managed financial and economic data, and wrote daily reports on macroeconomics and financial markets. Prior to working at Globicus, she was Investment Promotion Officer at the New York Office of the Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) where she wrote monthly reports on the U.S. economic outlook, wrote reports on the outlook of key U.S. industries, and assisted investors on doing business and investment in Thailand. Prior to joining the BOI, she was Adjunct Professor teaching International Political Economy/International Relations at the City College of New York. Prior to her teaching experience at the CCNY, Winnie successfully completed internships at the United Nations.   Winnie holds an MA Degree from Long Island University, New York. She also did graduate studies at Columbia University in the City of New York and doctoral requirements at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her areas of specialization are international political economy, macroeconomics, financial markets, political economy, international relations, and business development/business strategy. Her regional specialization includes, but not limited to, Southeast Asia and East Asia.   A bilingual (English and Thai) with competency in French, Winnie loves to travel (almost 30 countries) to better understand each country’s unique economy, fascinating culture and people as well as the global economy as a whole.

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