U.S. Trade Deficit Narrowed in June as Imports, Exports Rose -- Update
By Paul Kiernan
WASHINGTON -- Trade between the U.S. and the rest of the world
picked up in June, with both exports and imports rising together
for the first time in six months as the global economy began
climbing out of the recession caused by the coronavirus
Exports from the U.S. rose 9.4% in June from May to $158.3
billion, the Commerce Department said in a report Wednesday.
Imports rose 4.7% to $208.9 billion. The deficit narrowed 7.5% to
"While trade flows rebounded in June, they still remained way
off from where they were in February," said Shannon Seery, an
economist at Wells Fargo. "The flows just declined so dramatically
in the prior three months."
Fueling the rise in exports was a 14% jump in outbound shipments
of goods, which had cratered in April and May as much of the global
economy was closed to contain the spread of Covid-19. Exports of
services rose much more slowly at 1%.
U.S. consumer demand picked up in June as parts of the economy
reopened. Unemployment fell, and retail sales rose as consumers
bought more cars, clothing and electronics.
Those trends were reflected in a 10% rise in imports of consumer
goods and a 4.7% increase in imports of capital goods, such as
computers and semiconductors, suggesting an upward trend in
The automotive industry saw both imports and exports more than
double in June from May as lockdowns eased and showrooms
"The industry has been holding up and recovering well," General
Motors Chief Financial Officer Dhivya Suryadevara told reporters
A resurgence of coronavirus cases in the U.S. and some other
countries suggests that economic growth and trade may falter again.
Manufacturing export orders were soft across most of the countries
surveyed in July by research firm IHS Markit.
Global trade tumbled in the first half of the year, as the
coronavirus pandemic and U.S.-China tensions caused multinationals
to reconsider globe-spanning supply chains. The World Trade
Organization's economists estimate that trade flows will fall by at
least 13% during 2020 as a whole and possibly by much more.
Wednesday's data showed trade in services remained relatively
depressed compared with February levels. But most of the drop was
due to the sharp decline in international travel as tourists stayed
home and business travelers shifted to videoconferencing. U.S.
exports of services such as intellectual property, financial
services and business services have all declined only modestly
since the onset of the pandemic.
Write to Paul Kiernan at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
August 05, 2020 10:30 ET (14:30 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.