The trade deficit in the U.S. widened in April to the highest in more than a year as exports and imports both declined.
The gap grew 0.6 percent to $40.3 billion, the most since December 2008, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. A separate report showed more Americans than anticipated filed claims for jobless benefits last week.
The year-over-year expansion of both export and imports gives the impression of strength. Since the growth comparisons are generated from extremely depressed levels, the interpretation is more illusion than reality.
Export (EXCB) & Imports (IMCB) And YOY Change:
The fact that imports continue to rise faster than exports once economy bounces from the bottom only reinforces the structural nature of deficits within the U.S. and many of the Western economies. If deficits reduction has been deemed priority number one, it is clear from the following charts that there are no easy fixes.
Imports to Exports Ratio (Census Basis):
Net Exports (Census Basis) As A % GDP:
Adding insult to injury, the structural deficits are now accompanied by double-digit year-over-year import price increases.
Import and Export Price Change YOY: