US foreign trade deficit soars in March
America's shortfall on trade with the rest of the world ballooned at the end of the first quarter amid a surge in purchases from overseas.
According to the US Department of Commerce, in seasonally adjusted terms, the US foreign trade deficit on goods and services jumped by 22.3% month-on-month to reach $109.8bn.
That was a far worse outcome than the dip to -$87.0bn expected by the consensus, although economists at Barclays Research had correctly penciled-in a deficit of -$107.0bn.
In comparison to the month before, exports jumped by 5.6% to reach $241.7bn, driven higher mainly by sales of crude oil and petroleum products.
But imports leapt by 10.3% to $351.5bn, boosted by purchases of finished metal shapes, consumer goods, capital goods such as computers and passenger cars.
Combined, March's increase in the trade imbalance drove the year-to-date total trade deficit up by 41.5% in comparison to a year earlier.