Trade statistics from April show the trade deficit saw an 8.5% increase. March’s figure was $37.1 billion, while numbers in April jumped to $40.3 billion according to the Department of Commerce.
While the U.S. trade deficit widened in April, the month was still one for the record books, as reported by the LA Times. Not only were the $187.4 billion U.S. exports the highest number seen so far this year, but this number was also the second-highest ever recorded. Automobiles and U.S.-made parts were a big factor in exports, accounting for $12.8 billion.
Imports saw a rise in numbers along with exports. Imported consumer goods increased to $3 billion in April. Overall imports rose by $5.4 billion.
One reason for the rise in imports was the increased number of computer and telecommunications equipment imported by U.S. businesses. A quick search in the Import Genius database showed that shipments containing the word ‘computer’ most definitely increased in April. March ‘computer’ shipments were less than 2,800 while April imports totaled nearly 4,100 shipments. Consumer imports of foreign-made automobiles and cellphones also contributed to the increase.
Increased petroleum exports of $2.2 billion were not as significant as expected. This is because global demand is less than usual due to slowed growth in China and Europe’s recession.
Petroleum imports have dropped off notably in the last few months compared to the end of last year and beginning of 2013.
The Import Genius shipping database, containing over 80 million shipping records dating back to 2006, showed the recent decrease in shipments. From October through December 2012, an average of 434 shipments were received each month. Numbers peaked in January with nearly 500 shipments containing petroleum, totaling 72.6 million metric tons. The drop-off began in March, with just 317 shipments. April’s numbers were even lower with just 284. Data also showed numbers continued to decrease in May with about 250 petroleum shipments recorded. As shipments have gone down by almost half, the weight of these shipments has also significantly decreased. The weight of April’s petroleum imports was just 10.8 million pounds, making an 85% decrease in weight from numbers at the beginning of 2013.