The U.S. trade deficit shrank 19.2% in April after hitting a seven-year high in March, a big swing largely caused by a dockworkers strike earlier in the year. Setting aside the labor dispute, the longer-term U.S. trade picture was little changed. The U.S. trade deficit fell to a seasonally adjusted $40.9 billion in April from a revised $50.6 billion in the prior month, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast a deficit of $43.5 billion. The smaller-than-expected trade gap could give a boost to gross domestic product in the second quarter. A lower deficit adds to U.S. growth. Exports rose 1% to $189.9 billion to mark the highest level of 2015. Imports sank 3.3% to $230.8 billion. Imports surged in March and retreated in April mainly because of the resumption of work at key West Coast ports that moved piles of foreign goods sitting on docks after lengthy delays. The trade deficit averaged $42.9 billion in the three months from February to April, down slightly from $43.4 billion a year earlier.
Copyright © 2015 MarketWatch, Inc.
Continue Reading Below