U.S. Trade Deficit Shrinks Unexpectedly

By John S. McClenahen One month's numbers do not make for a trend, particularly this year when the U.S. international trade deficit in goods and services could top $400 billion. However, March's deficit shrunk to $31.6 billion from a revised $31.8 billion in February, says the U.S. Commerce Department. Economists generally had expected the March goods and services deficit to widen to $32.1 billion. Exports totaling $79.2 billion in March were $500 million more than February's $78.7 billion; March imports of $110.8 billion were $300 million more than February's $110.5 billion. Although U.S. exports of capital goods, autos and auto parts increased, March's overall goods deficit rose by $200 million to $37.1 billion. Meanwhile, paced by travel, passenger fares and other transportation items, the U.S. services surplus increased by $300 million in March.

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