U.S. Trade Deficit Down, Thanks To Decreased Imports

Fewer overseas crude oil imports helped narrow the nation's trade deficit in March to its lowest level in 17 years. The gap between the United States and China continued to shrink but is still higher than with any other nation.

From February to March, an 11% drop occurred, bringing the difference in imports compared to exports down to $38.8 billion. Exports actually decreased nearly 1 percent to $184.3 billion as machinery, autos and farm product sales flagged.

But a more than 4% drop in foreign oil to just 7 million barrels a day, the lowest since 1996, helped bring imports down a little less than 3% to $223.1 billon.

As for China, the trade imbalance with the U.S. narrowed by less than 24% to nearly $18 billion, which still exceeds the nation's deficit with other countries. The European Union actually gained ground, with a 13% improvement, much to Uncle Sam's disadvantage.

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