Trade Deficit Widens to 18-Month High in April

The U.S. international trade in goods and services, also known as the FT-900, is published monthly by the Bureau of Economic Analysis with data going back to 1992. The monthly reports include revisions that go back several months. This trade balance measures the difference in value between imported and exported goods and services.

Here is an excerpt from the latest report:

The U.S. goods and services trade deficit increased in April 2024 according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau. The deficit increased from $68.6 billion in March (revised) to $74.6 billion in April, as imports increased more than exports. The goods deficit increased $5.9 billion in April to $99.2 billion. The services surplus decreased $0.1 billion in April to $24.7 billion.

In April, the trade deficit widened to an 18-month high by expanding 8.7% to $74.56B. The latest reading was better than the forecast of $76.20B.

Trade Deficit

This indicator is somewhat volatile, with an 8.6% absolute average monthly change. The latest data point saw a 8.7% month-over-month change. Here is a snapshot that gives a better sense of the extreme volatility of this indicator.

Trade Deficit

As mentioned earlier, the trade balance measures the difference in value between imported and exported goods and services. In April, imports increased by $8.0 billion (2.43%) to $338.23B while exports increased by $2.6 billion (0.79%) to $263.67B. Since imports increased more than exports did, the trade deficit increased.

Trade Deficit Exports and Imports

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