:: Thursday, April 15, 2004 ::
More bad news for the Kerry campaign.
Trade Gap Shrinks as Imports, Exports Hit Record
The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in February as a combination of the weak U.S. dollar and stronger economic growth propelled both exports and imports to record levels, a government report showed on Wednesday.
The February trade gap totaled $42.1 billion, down more than 3 percent from January and slightly below analysts' pre-report expectations of $42.5 billion.
U.S. exports leapt four percent -- the highest monthly increase since October 1996 -- to a record $92.4 billion, while imports rose 1.6 percent to a record $134.5 billion.
The politically sensitive trade gap with China fell nearly 28 percent in February as imports from that country slipped to $11.3 billion, the lowest level in nearly a year, and exports to China rose 17 percent to $3.0 billion.
The lower dollar appeared to help all categories of exports, as shipments of industrial supplies and materials and autos and auto parts both set records. Exports of consumer goods were only slightly below the record set in November and exports of capital goods, such as aircraft and industrial machines, were the highest since May 2001.
Exports of services, which include travel, also set a record.
:: Mark 9:28 AM [+] ::