The Commerce Department said that the U.S trade deficit dropped 2.1% to $46.2 billion in April, which was the lowest level since September of last year. Economists expected the gap to be unchanged at $49 billion in April 2018.
In April, according to the Commerce Department, exports of goods and services were up 0.3% to $211.2 billion. Exports of soybean rose $0.3 billion, and corn shipments increased by a similar amount. In addition, exports to China decreased 17.1% in April. The increase in exports was helped by the increase in deliveries of industrial supplies and materials.
Additionally, imports of goods and services dropped 0.2% to $257.4 billion. Imports of motor vehicle dropped $1.0 billion, and imports of consumer goods decreased $2.8 billion. In April, imports of crude oil increased $1.0 billion. Imports from China remained the same in April.
The Commerce Department also adjusted the data for March. After adjusting, the trade deficit dropped to $47.2 billion from the previous data of $49.0 billion. Adjusted for inflation, the trade gap narrowed from $78.2 billion to $77.5 billion in March.
According to the Labor Department, worker productivity is increasing at a slower pace than expected in the first quarter. In addition, nonfarm productivity increased at 0.4% annualized rate, and unit labor costs rose at a 2.9% pace in the January-March quarter.