Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Trade deficit grows on oil imports

Government report shows the gap widening more than expected on soaring prices.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
By Ben Rooney, CNNMoney.com staff writer

Which issue should McCain and Obama make their highest priority?
  • Credit crisis
  • Foreclosures
  • Gas prices
  • Health care

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- High oil prices helped to expand the nation's trade deficit more than expected in April, reaching levels not seen in over a year, according to a government report released Tuesday.

The Commerce Department reported that imports outstripped exports in the month by $60.9 billion, up from a revised $56.5 billion in March. The last time the gap was this broad was in March 2007, when it was $62.3 billion.

Economists had expected the gap to widen to $60 billion, according to a consensus estimate compiled by Briefing.com.

"Crude oil prices are having an effect," said Michael Darda, chief economist at MKM Partners. But the overall trend in exports is "fairly strong" and may eventually offset some of the weakness in other areas of the economy, he added.

Exports of goods and services increased 3.3% in April, climbing $5 billion to $155.5 billion, the highest it's been since the measure's inception in 1992. But that was countered by a sharp 4.5% increase in imports, which rose $9.4 billion to $216.4 billion.

The portion of the trade gap due to oil increased 14%, while the portion due to non-petroleum goods was little changed.

Meanwhile, the average price for a barrel of oil jumped nearly 8% to a record high of $96.81 from $89.85 in March. This price included less refined grades of crude oil that are less expensive than the light crude that has surged as high as $139 a barrel recently.

The report also showed that the nation's trade gap with China increased 26% to $20.2 billion from $16 billion the month before.  To top of page

Features
They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
Homes in these ZIP codes are selling like crazy Strong job growth, growing interest from Millennials and affordable home prices are attracting home buyers to these cities. More
Working class whites & the government: It's complicated These Clearfield, Pennsylvania, residents are mad at D.C., but want more help. More
Dear Trump and Clinton: Here's what swing voters want These voices are based on interviews with American voters from the key swing states of Florida and Ohio. It's part of a special report titled "Your money, your vote," that will air on CNN on October 15. More

Sponsors