The US trade deficit in goods and services jumped 16.8% in April from a month earlier as the Covid-19 pandemic meant many businesses were operating on a limited capacity or none at all.
The deficit amounted to US$49.4bn for the month – up $7.1bn from $39.8bn in February. Exports were $151.3bn, a drop of $38.9bn on March; while imports were $31.8bn less at $200.7bn, according to trade statistics released by the Department of Commerce. Import and export totals were both the lowest in nearly ten years.
The largest deficit was recorded with China, rising to $26bn from $15.5bn in March. Exports increased $2.1bn to $9.3bn and imports decreased $11bn to $35.2bn.
Other deficits were recorded with the EU ($14.3bn), Germany ($4bn), Japan ($3.6bn), Mexico ($3.3bn), South Korea ($2.3bn), Taiwan ($2.2bn), Italy ($2bn), India ($1.9bn), France ($1.4bn), and Singapore ($1.1bn).
Surpluses for the month of April were recorded with South and Central America ($2.9bn), OPEC ($1.4bn), Brazil ($0.8bn), Saudi Arabia ($0.3bn), and Hong Kong (less than $0.1bn).
With the global garment industry collapsing under the weight of the Covid-19 pandemic throughout April, US apparel imports tumbled by more than a quarter on the previous month – with Central American suppliers Honduras and El Salvador recording the sharpest declines in shipments at more than 90% each.