Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
- International Trade
In March, the U.S. trade deficit expanded by $6.4 billion to −$51.8 billion, up from February’s downwardly revised −$45.4 billion deficit (−$46.0, previously). After narrowing last month by $7.1 billion, March’s deficit reversed course and came in wider than consensus forecasts (−$50.0 billion) to mark the largest expansion since May of last year. The widening was driven by an all-time record $11.7 billion jump in imports to a level of $238.6 billion as they recovered from last month’s $6.3 billion decline. Like imports, exports demonstrated strength, increasing by $5.3 billion to a record high of $186.8 billion. With imports growing faster than exports in March, the positive contribution of trade to first quarter GDP may be more muted in the second estimate as March’s numbers will likely counteract February’s. On a year-over-year basis, imports posted gains of 8.4 percent, up from February’s 7.5 percent, but down from the double digit pace seen throughout 2011 and 2010. Exports rose 7.3 percent, decelerating from February’s 9.5 percent yearly gain.