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The U.S. advance goods trade deficit widened more than consensus expectations in April. Goods deficit came in at USD 67.6 billion, as compared with the consensus expectations of a deficit of USD 64.5 billion. Nominal exports rose just 0.1 percent sequentially, weaker than the projection of 0.8 percent growth.

Exports of food, industrial supplies and nonautomotive capital goods rose in the month, but the rise was countered by drops in automotive exports, consumer good exports and other exports. Exports have improved since early 2016 and have risen 5.6 percent year-on-year in nominal terms. The improvement is believed to have been driven partially by the synchronized upturn in global growth and is likely to lead to stronger export growth at least through mid-2017, noted Barclays in a research report.

“While this remains our base case and we view month-on-month trade data with some suspicion given its volatility, the March and April advance goods reports suggest this impulse from global growth on US exports could be fading and present a risk to our view”, added Barclays. 

Nominal goods imports rose strongly 1.8 sequentially in April that was considerably stronger than Barclays’ expectation of 0.5 percent. While better than expected goods imports resulted in a wider deficit and has a deleterious effect on growth, a positive signal can be taken from the fact that imports of consumer and capital goods recorded strong rises of 4.8 percent and 2.2 percent respectively.

An improvement in these categories would be in line with the outlook for acceleration in activity in the second quarter as any pick-up in business and consumer spending would possibly create stronger imports in these categories.