Fleet Management

Trade Gap Widens in April

June 10, 2010

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April exports fell 0.7 percent, while imports fell 0.4 percent, widening the trade gap from March.
The trade gap was $40.3 billion in April, compared to $40 billion in March, according to data released by IHS Global Insight.

In April, prices were rising, causing volumes to weaken more than values, said Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight. Followed by large increases in March, goods export volumes were down 2.5 percent in April, while goods import volumes decreased 1.5 percent.

"These declines should be viewed as corrections after very sharp increases in March," Gault said. "Export and import trends are still pointing higher, although the pace of growth is slowing after the big bounce-back in the second half of 2009."

Gault expects foreign trade to be a drag on growth in the second quarter. While both exports and imports should rise, imports are outpacing exports as the U.S. recovery pulls in imported finished goods and materials. As the dollar continues to strengthen against the euro, exports will face headwinds, IHS Global Insight said.

The forecaster expects GDP to grow more than 4 percent in the second quarter, before slowing below 3 percent in the second half of the year, as stimulus fades, global growth slows and the dollar gains strength.

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