The U.S. March trade balance did not not surprise with its $27.6 billion deficit, slightly wider than the $26.1 billion February shock, as imports printed down $1.6 billion but exports fell an even greater $3 billion.

Exports declined to their lowest level since August 2006. Exports of capital goods fell $1.7 billion, autos declined $240 million, and pharmaceuticals fell $233 million. Imports of natural gas dropped $611 million but crude oil posted up $400 million, while capital goods fell $516 million.

The March goods deficit posted its first increase after seven months of decline, perhaps indicating a turn in U.S. demand. But overall the report indicated more subdued trade flows than in recent history.

Real trade showed its balance was slightly wider in March, but the first-quarter average stands more than 10% narrower than in the fourth quarter and will add to growth.

— Market News International

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