US trade deficit improves slightly in March

US trade deficit improves slightly in March

The U.S. trade deficit was narrower than forecast in March as record exports of services partly cushioned a drop in merchandise shipments, Commerce Department data showed Thursday.

The new figures follow a deficit of $1.1 billion the month before. At the same time, exports to the European Union and South Korea rose to records, while shipments to Germany were the highest since 2008.

Shortly afterwards, the USA administration slapped tariffs on Canadian exports of softwood lumber and complained about Canada's dairy sector, helping to sink the Canadian dollar to 14-month lows. As a result, Canada's trade surplus with the United States slipped to $3.97 billion from $4.51 billion in February.

The Trump administration is looking at trade as it seeks to boost annual economic growth to 4 percent.

China's imports and exports are expected to stabilise and improve in the near future, the Ministry of Commerce said in its quarterly report on trends in the country's foreign trade.

President Donald Trump is poised to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, which links Canada, Mexico and the United States, and has threatened to pull out unless the USA gets a favorable deal.

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According to Statistics Canada, total exports rose 3.8 percent to a record high of Can$47 billion in March as both volumes and prices increased.

Consumer goods exports also gained ground, climbing 6.8 per cent to $6.1 billion.

Imports from Mexico hit $28.1 billion, their highest on record, pushing the deficit with the southern neighbor to its highest level in almost 10 years.

In March, exports of goods and services fell 0.9 percent to $191.0 billion.

The trade deficit had been expected to widen to USD44.5 billion from the USD43.6 billion originally reported for the previous month.

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