The U.S. April trade data show the effects of higher oil prices and the shortages caused by the Japan disasters, resulting in a narrower trade gap that will substantially boost second-quarter real growth estimates.
The April trade balance posted a stunning $3 billion improvement to negative $43.7 billion as exports jumped $2.2 billion across a broader front led by oil and electronics. Imports, in contrast, fell $1 billion due to higher oil pricing and shortages caused by the disasters in Japan. Analysts had called for a trade balance of about negative $48 billion in April.
In imports, autos and parts posted negative $2.8 billion in the Japan effect, and industrial supplies printed negative $1.5 billion. The latter was affected as crude imports plunged $2.4 billion when volumes fell on a 10% price jump.