INDICATOR: March Trade Deficit
KEY DATA: Deficit: $40.4 billion ($1.5 billion narrower); Exports: up 2.1%; Imports: up 1.1%
IN A NUTSHELL: "Growing exports are another sign that the economy is really starting to accelerate."
WHAT IT MEANS: First quarter growth was a disaster and declining exports were a major reason the economy came to a screeching halt. That may be turning around as the rest of the world starting buying from us again in March. Exports improved sharply with most categories posting gains. We sold more food, motor vehicles, industrial supplies and capital goods, especially aircraft to foreign buyers. A large drop in pharmaceutical sales was the major reason that the consumer goods category didn't show an increase. Looking across the globe, we posted larger sales almost everywhere, even to China. European demand popped and that is really good news for future growth. On the import side, we also bought a lot more of almost everything and only a major fall off in crude oil purchases kept the total down. We do like our cellphones and that category really grew.