U.S. Exports Reach Another Record in March, but Oil Important Stretch Trade Deficit

U.S. trade activity went through its growingly common routine of another one leap forward, one leap backward in March, the latest U.S. Department of Commerce Statistics indicate. The sum of it all remains an ever-growing trade deficit.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced that U.S. exports of goods and services in March 2011 increased 4.6% between February and March to a record $172.7 billion. Both the goods side ($124.9 billion) and services ($47.7 billion) hit high-water marks historically. Among other records were the surge in the export value ($7.7 billion) as well as value of trade routed to Canada and South and Central America. The U.S. even managed to shave its Chinese trade deficit down from $18.8 billion to $18.1 billion, thanks in part to small business exporting levels. Ignoring the elephant in the room, escalating demand and prices for oil products, Locke celebrated the news in a brief statement on the Commerce website.

Far less discussed by Commerce officials was that the trade deficit increased to $48.2 billion, about a 6% increase from February to March. Oil imports spiked by 18% in March to a dollar-value-level of $39.3 billion, the highest in nearly three years.

Brian Shappell, NACM staff writer

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