U.S. commerce deficit narrows barely from document as imports sluggish


The CMA CGM Marco Polo, an Explorer-class container ship, passes under the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge to enter New York Harbor as seen from Brooklyn, New York, USA on May 20, 2021.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

American demand for imports eased in April, reducing the US trade deficit from the previous month’s record, according to data released Tuesday by the Census Bureau.

The shortage of goods and services decreased to $ 68.9 billion for the month, compared to March’s revised upward of $ 75.02 billion, the highest level for data dating back to January 1992.

While exports rose 1.1% to $ 205 billion, imports fell 1.4% to $ 273.9 billion, representing an 8.2% decrease in the trade deficit.

Despite the monthly decline, which left the trade imbalance 30% higher than last year, the U.S. economy remained largely in shutdown mode due to the tight restrictions that companies were imposing to control the Covid-19 pandemic.

Government bond yields fell on the news, with the 10-year bond benchmark trading at 1.53% late morning, nearing its lowest level since mid-April.

A waning appetite for imported consumer goods led to the decline in imports. That category fell $ 2.6 billion, mainly due to a $ 1.7 billion decrease in cell phones and other housewares.

Automobiles, parts, and engines also fell $ 1.1 billion as a semiconductor shortage hampered production and led to downtime at some auto plants.

Imports of services rose by as much as $ 700 million a month thanks to growth from travel and transportation.

China’s trade deficit fell to $ 32.4 billion after rising 22% in March.

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