US trade deficit falls for second straight month in April
US trade deficit falls for second straight month in April
Shipping containers are seen at the Port Newark Container Terminal Thomson Reuters
08 June, 2018, 20:35
Canada's trade deficit in April shrank to a six-month low of $1.90-billion from $3.93 billion in March, as exports climbed to a record high and imports dropped, Statistics Canada said.
Wednesday's report from the Commerce Department was the latest sign of robust economic growth in the second quarter.
The administration is also imposing tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum, saying that reliance on foreign metals poses a threat to USA national security - a position that has enraged US allies including the European Union, Japan, Canada and Mexico.
Meanwhile, Egypt's non petroleum exports jumped 200 percent in the first two months of 2018, reaching $64 million, compared to $21 million in the same period of 2017. However, trade tensions are a threat to the overall outlook and clearly could derail the economic growth, added the economist. Data for March was also revised to show a trade deficit of $47.2 billion instead of the previously reported $49 billion.
The narrowing in the deficit was much larger than anticipated by economists, who had forecast a trade gap of C$3.4 billion during the month according to a Bloomberg survey.
"We firmly believe that the growth in aggregate demand in the United States is outstripping supply and expect the trade gap to widen later in the year but for now we appear on track for trade to add to second-quarter growth, which would push real GDP growth in the quarter above four percent", the said in a research note. When the deficit is adjusted due to inflation, the trade gap in March narrowed from $78.2 billion to $77.4 billion.
Canadian government bond prices were lower across the yield curve in sympathy with U.S. Treasuries and German Bunds. The dollar fell against a basket of currencies while stocks on Wall Street rose. Trump in March announced tariffs for steel and aluminum imports to protect domestic industries from what he says is unfair competition from foreign producers.
Those measures were retaliated against by Mexico as it targeted several US industrial and farm products. Canada has said it would slap tariffs on imports from the United States, including whiskey, orange juice, steel, aluminum and other products.
So far this year, the deficit is up 11.5 percent from a year ago.
One economist warned that the USA failed to understand the strategy of risking a full blown trade with Canada, Mexico and the European Union particularly when the U.S was expanding strongly in each of those markets. Talks to head off a trade war between the world's two largest economies have so far failed to produce a resolution, even though China has offered to step up purchases of USA farm and energy products.
That's a good sign for an economy that will need the export sector to make a bigger contribution to growth as consumers scale back.
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