- Exports fell 20.5% to $151.3 in April.
- The decline was led by civilian aircraft, crude oil, and autos.
- Imports dropped 13% to $200.7 billion.
- The decline was led by passenger cars, semiconductors, and consumer goods including pharmaceutical preparation and apparel.
- Exports are down 9.5% year-to-date, while imports are off 10.2%.
- The U.S. services surplus narrowed $1.3 billion to $22.4 billion.
- The trade gap with China widened $9 billion to $26 billion in April.
A report released by the Commerce Department on Thursday showed the U.S. trade deficit widened by slightly more than anticipated in the month of April.
The Commerce Department said the trade deficit widened to $49.4 billion in April from a revised $42.3 billion in March.
The wider trade gap masks a significant decline in trade flows from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Economists had expected the trade deficit to widen to $49.0 billion from the $44.4 billion originally reported for the previous month.
The wider than expected trade deficit came as a nosedive in the value of exports outpaced a slump in the value of imports.
The value of exports plunged by 20.5 percent to $151.3 billion, reflecting substantial decreases in exports of capital goods, industrial supplies and materials and automotive vehicles, parts, and engines.
Meanwhile, the report said the value of imports tumbled by 13.7 percent to $200.7 billion amid steep drops in imports automotive vehicles, parts and engines, capital goods, and consumer goods.
"The closure of motor vehicle production plants throughout North America played the biggest role in the slump in trade," said Paul Ashworth, Chief U.S. Economist at Capital Economics. "Services trade was hit by further declines in travel and transport."
"Services trade isn't going to rebound any time soon with the borders partly closed, but the reopening of motor vehicle production plants in mid-May means we should see a rebound over the coming months," he added.
The Commerce Department noted the goods deficit widened to $71.8 billion in April from $66.0 billion in March, while the services surplus fell to $22.4 billion from $23.7 billion.
- With MarketWatch