Due to pandemic-related shutdowns across the globe, U.S. exports and imports both suffered record monthly decreases, according to the Wall Street Journal. From March to April, imports posted losses of 13.7 percent while exports fell 20.5 percent. Now, the trade deficit stands at a seasonally adjusted $49.41 billion after growing 16.7 percent.
Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics, said, “Beyond the fact that we’re seeing a significant widening of the trade deficit, what really strikes me is the pace at which trade flows are declining.”
Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors, stated, “We’re reopening fast enough that import demand will pick up faster than export demand. We’ll have more total activity as we go forward but the trade deficit is likely to widen.”
Angeliki Frangou, chief executive of container ship operator Navios Maritime Containers LP, said, “Much of the disruption may have already occurred. As countries emerge from quarantine and return to work, we expect volumes to pick up, particularly in the second half of 2020.”
Canada also reported similar losses, as the country’s goods trade deficit expanded in April with exports reaching their lowest-ranking level since late 2010.
The U.S. deficit in goods with China grew from $16.99 billion to $25.96 billion over the last month. With the U.S. and China clashing politically, many Chinese state-controlled companies canceled certain shipments from U.S. farm exporters.
The U.S.’s largest exporter, Boeing Co., reported in late March that it planned on suspending airliner production in the Seattle area. General Electric Co. also laid off employees working on jet engine production.