UPDATE: US Trade Deficit Unexpectedly Narrows Amid Jump In Exports

WASHINGTON (Alliance News) - A report released by the US Commerce Department on Wednesday showed ...

Alliance News 17 April, 2019 | 3:21PM
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WASHINGTON (Alliance News) - A report released by the US Commerce Department on Wednesday showed the US trade deficit unexpectedly narrowed in the month of February amid a jump in the value of exports.

The Commerce Department said the trade deficit narrowed to USD49.4 billion in February from USD51.1 billion in January, while economists had expected the deficit to widen to USD53.5 billion.

The narrower deficit came as the value of exports surged up by 1.1% to USD209.7 billion in February from USD207.4 billion in January.

Exports in the volatile civilian aircraft category soared, while exports of automotive vehicles, parts and engines also rose.

The report also showed a more modest increase in the value of imports, which edged up by 0.2% to USD259.1 billion in February from USD258.5 billion in the previous month.

A spike in imports of cell phones and other household goods was partly offset by a steep drop in imports of industrial supplies and materials.

Michael Pearce, Senior US Economist at Capital Economics, said net trade is on track to add as much as 1 percentage points to first quarter GDP growth but forecast net trade would switch back to being a drag on economic growth later this year.

"Admittedly, we expect a further slowdown in domestic demand which will continue to weigh on import growth," Pearce said.

He added, "But with economic growth in the rest of the world set to remain subdued, and the past appreciation of the dollar still feeding through, we expect export growth to be even weaker."

Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX

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