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U.S. merchandise trade fell in April to lowest level in a decade

UPDATED: Fri., May 29, 2020

In this photo from May 21, 2020, Denise Bachand, of Newington, Conn., gathers her merchandise at the checkout counter after shopping at Boscov's at the Westfield Meriden mall. U.S. merchandise trade in April slumped to the lowest level in a decade as the coronavirus pandemic curtailed demand and disrupted supply lines. (Dave Zajac / AP)
In this photo from May 21, 2020, Denise Bachand, of Newington, Conn., gathers her merchandise at the checkout counter after shopping at Boscov's at the Westfield Meriden mall. U.S. merchandise trade in April slumped to the lowest level in a decade as the coronavirus pandemic curtailed demand and disrupted supply lines. (Dave Zajac / AP)
By Katia Dmitrieva Bloomberg

U.S. merchandise trade in April slumped to the lowest level in a decade as the coronavirus pandemic curtailed demand and disrupted supply lines.

Goods exports plummeted 25.2% in April from the prior month, the biggest decline in records back to 1989, to $95.4 billion, according to Commerce Department data released Friday. Imports decreased 14.3%, also the largest yet, to $165 billion. Combined, the value of U.S. exports and imports dropped to $260.4 billion, the lowest since April 2010.

The goods-trade deficit widened to $69.7 billion from a revised $65 billion a month earlier. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a $65 billion gap.

The advance indicators report also showed retail inventories declined 3.6% from March. Wholesale stockpiles rose 0.4%.

The data indicate the second quarter got off to a weaker start as companies and consumers largely remained on lockdown. Analysts use these numbers to adjust estimates for quarterly economic growth.

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