U.S. imports fell by 13.7 percent to 200.7 billion U.S. dollars in April while exports fell by 20.5 percent to 151.3 billion dollars, the department said. The overall trade deficit rose by 16.7 percent to 49.4 billion dollars from a revised 42.3 billion dollars in March.
The deficit in goods with China rose by 9 billion dollars to 26 billion dollars in April, as U.S. exports to China increased to 9.3 billion dollars while imports from China rose to 35.2 billion dollars, according to the department.
“The U.S. economy was in lockdown for the entire month of April, factories and businesses were closed or operating at limited capacity, and consumers were confined to their homes. It is thus of little surprise that both exports and imports cratered during the month,” Tim Quinlan, senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities, wrote Thursday in a note.
“In fact, April marked the largest monthly decline on record for overall exports and imports as well as for goods. Services still declined but the decline was less bad than in March,” he noted.
As some major economies started to reopen by late-April, Quinlan believed that international trade flows should “start to steadily pick-up.”