US trade deficit shrinks in March following strong export growth

Imports and Exports | 4 May 2018

The US was able to shrink its trade deficit in March 2018 after export figures hit a record high.


The latest trade data from the US has shown that the world's largest economy was able to reduce its trade deficit in March 2018.

Exports of goods and services for the month rose by two per cent to reach a record high of $208.5 billion (€174.36), driven by a significant rise in shipments of commercial aircraft, as well as soybeans, corn and crude oil.

At the same time, imports of goods and services fell 1.8 per cent to $257.5 billion, with capital, consumer goods and crude oil all declining, and the recent boost in royalties and broadcast license fees related to the Winter Olympics tailing off.

This meant the trade deficit shrank by 15.2 per cent to a six-month low of $49 billion in March, having hit $57.7 billion in February, the highest level since October 2008.

Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors, said: "The good news is that we are exporting more, but with the labor markets incredibly tight, labor costs are accelerating as well."

Also of note was the fact that the goods trade deficit with China shrank 11.6 per cent to $25.9 billion, against a backdrop of escalating tension between the US and China over their trade relationship.