A report released by the Commerce Department on Tuesday showed the U.S. trade deficit hit a new record high in the month of March.
The Commerce Department said the trade deficit widened to $74.4 billion in March from a revised $70.5 billion in February.
The trade deficit was nearly in line with estimates, as economists had expected the deficit to widen to $74.5 billion from the $71.1 billion originally reported for the previous month.
The wider trade deficit was partly due to a jump in the value of imports, which surged up by 6.3 percent to $274.5 billion in March after falling by 0.7 percent to $258.1 billion in February.
Imports of consumer foods, industrial supplies and materials and capital goods all showed significant increases during the month.
Meanwhile, the report showed the value of exports also spiked by 6.6 percent to $200.0 billion in March after tumbling by 2.4 percent to $187.6 billion in February.
Exports of industrial supplies and materials led the way higher, while exports of capital goods and consumer goods also showed notable growth.
“The ongoing boost to imports from the strength of domestic demand suggests that net trade may remain a small drag on GDP growth,” said Andrew Hunter, Senior U.S. Economist at Capital Economics.
He added, “But, with exports still having more room to recover as global demand starts to pick up, that drag should fade over the course of this year.”
The report showed the goods deficit widened to $91.6 billion in March from $87.9 billion in February, while the services surplus narrowed to $17.1 billion from $17.4 billion.
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