By Yuka Hayashi

WASHINGTON--Consumers and a fresh round of stimulus money pushed demand for U.S. imported goods to a record high in March, further expanding the trade deficit.

The foreign-trade gap in goods and services expanded 5.6% from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted $74.4 billion in March, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.

Imports rose 6.3% to $274.5 billion for the month, fueled by higher shipments of items including toys, furniture, cellphones and automobiles. The previous record for imports, on a seasonally but not inflation adjusted basis, was recorded in October 2018 when the U.S. purchased foreign goods and services worth $266.72 billion.

Exports rose 6.6% to $200 billion in March, following a one-month decline in February, as manufacturers continued to face supply-chain disruptions.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had predicted a trade deficit of $74.8 billion in March.

-Anthony DeBarros contributed to this article.

Write to Yuka Hayashi at yuka.hayashi@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 04, 2021 09:03 ET (13:03 GMT)

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