Friday, June 09, 2006

U.S. Trade Deficit Up to $63.4B in April

The trade deficit is rising again after two months of declines, pushed by oil prices and a flood of imports from China. Analysts warned that global oil prices above $70 per barrel will swell the deficit more in coming months.

The Commerce Department reported Friday that the gap between what the United States sells abroad and what it imports rose to $63.4 billion in April, 2.5 percent higher than the March imbalance of $61.9 billion.
The trade deficit fell in both February and March after hitting an all-time high of $66.2 billion in January.

While economists noted that the April deficit was smaller than the $65 billion that had been expected, it was still the sixth largest imbalance on record. They said deficits in comings months were likely to be worse given the jump in global crude oil prices.

On Wall Street, stocks finished their worst week of the year as investors remained nervous over worries about inflation and interest rates. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 46.90 points Friday to close at 10,891.92, ending the week with a loss of more than 355 points.

Investors' worries about inflation increased after the Labor Department reported that prices for imported goods jumped 1.6 percent in May. Excluding the big rise in petroleum products, import prices were still up 0.6 percent last month.

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