US Trade Deficit Hits Record High of $99.4 Billion in April 2024

The US trade deficit reached a new record high of $99.4 billion in April, marking a significant increase of $7.1 billion from the previous month, as reported by the US Census Bureau. This surge in the deficit was primarily driven by a rise in imports, coupled with only modest growth in exports.

In April, the value of goods exported from the US totaled $169.9 billion, showing a marginal increase of $0.9 billion compared to March. On the other hand, imports of goods soared to $269.3 billion in April, representing an $8.0 billion jump from the previous month.

The latest data also revealed that wholesale inventories for April, adjusted for seasonal and trading day variations but not for price changes, stood at $896.3 billion by the end of the month. This figure reflected a minor uptick of 0.2 per cent from March 2024, although it was down by 1.6 per cent year-on-year from April 2023. The bureau’s estimates for the percentage change in inventories from February to March remained unchanged at a 0.4 per cent decline.

Retail inventories for April, similarly adjusted for seasonal and trading day differences but not price changes, were reported at $790.9 billion at the end of the month. This indicates a 0.7 per cent increase from March 2024 and a notable 4.8 per cent rise from April 2023. The bureau revised its initial estimate for the percentage change from February to March from a 0.2 per cent increase to a 0.1 per cent increase.

The widening trade deficit in April raises concerns about the sustainability of the US economy’s trade balance in the coming months, amid ongoing global economic challenges and supply chain disruptions.