Trade

Exports Hit A Record High, But The Trade Deficit Keeps Growing.

U.S. trade numbers for March came out today. A few striking points:

Exports rose to an all-time high.

Exports plunged during the recession, but they've been growing strongly for a couple years now, and are back above the pre-crash peak.

Growth is coming from a broad range of categories — everything from industrial machinery to corn to royalty payments. (When U.S. companies get royalty payments from overseas, it counts as part of exports.)

Exports are being helped along by a falling dollar. Rising exports allow for economic growth without relying too heavily on spending by U.S. consumers.

Exports for March were $173 billion .

But imports grew even faster.

Imports for March rose to $221 billion. The trade deficit — the gap between imports and exports — was $48 billion.

The two key drivers of the trade deficit: Oil and China. Crude oil accounted for $28 billion of the March trade deficit. Trade with China accounted for another $18.1 billion.

The trade deficit is a drag on economic growth, and a big contributor to the global economic imbalances that economists say are unsustainable in the long term.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.