U.S. Trade Deficit Shrinks
The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released statistics indicating that the United States goods and services deficit was $40.4 billion in March, down $6.5 billion from $47.0 billion in February.
March exports were $176.6 billion, $1.5 billion less than February exports. March imports were $217.1 billion, $8.1 billion less than February imports.
The March decrease in the goods and services deficit reflected a decrease in the goods deficit of $6.0 billion to $58.5 billion and an increase in the services surplus of $0.5 billion to $18.1 billion.
Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit decreased $1.0 billion, or 0.8 percent, from the same period in 2015. Exports decreased $30.5 billion or 5.4 percent. Imports decreased $31.6 billion or 4.5 percent.
Exports of consumer goods decreased $1.6 billion in March with pharmaceuticals dropping by $0.8 billion and diamonds decreasing by $0.7 billion. Industrial supplies and materials decreased $0.8 billion, while capital goods increased by $1.0 billion, including an increase in civilian aircraft exports of $1.3 billion.
Exports of services increased $0.3 billion to $59.8 billion in March, which included an increase of $0.2 billion in travel.
On the import side goods decreased $7.9 billion to $175.3 billion in March, with consumer goods dropping by $5.1 billion and toys, games, and sporting goods taking a $1.1-billion hit. Cotton apparel and household goods decreased $0.6 billion. Capital goods decreased by $1.6 billion, including a $0.8-billion fall in computer accessories.
Imports of services decreased $0.2 billion to $41.7 billion in March. Transport, which includes freight and port services and passenger fares, decreased $0.4 billion.
The March figures show surpluses, in billions of dollars, with South and Central America ($3.2), OPEC ($0.7), United Kingdom ($0.5), and Saudi Arabia ($0.1). Deficits were recorded, in billions of dollars, with China ($26.0), the European Union ($11.1), Germany ($5.9), Japan ($5.9), Mexico ($5.2), South Korea ($3.0), Italy ($2.4), India ($1.7), France ($0.9), Brazil ($0.2), and Canada ($0.1).
The deficit with China decreased $6.2 billion to $26.0 billion in March. Exports increased $0.1 billion to $8.5 billion and imports decreased $6.1 billion to $34.4 billion.
The balance with the United Kingdom shifted from a deficit of $0.5 billion to a surplus of $0.5 billion in March. Exports increased $0.6 billion to $4.8 billion and imports decreased $0.3 billion to $4.4 billion.
The surplus with Saudi Arabia decreased $1.2 billion to $0.1 billion in March. Exports decreased $0.9 billion to $1.4 billion and imports increased $0.3 billion to $1.3 billion.