U.S. exports and imports both plunged sharply in April as much of the American economy shut down and the pandemic crippled demand for U.S. made goods around the world.
Imports fell 13.7 percent in March, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Exports dropped 20.5 percent. Both were the largest ever monthly declines on records dating back to 1992.
The trade deficit widened 16.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted $49.41 billion, hitting an already staggering economy with an immense loss of income.
Some of the decline in exports was supply-driven. U.S. automakers shut down production. But the disruption to demand for things like air travel also contributed, lowering purchases for aircraft from Boeing.
Exports of goods in April were the lowest since late 2009. Imports of goods were the lowest since late 2010.
The U.S. trade surplus in services fell by $1.3 billion in April to $22.4 billion in May, the lowest level since prior to Donald Trump election.
The trade deficit in goods with China grew $25.96 billion from $16.99 billion the prior month. But year to date it is a fraction of what it was last year, $87.6 billion compared with $123.68 billion in the first five months of 2019.