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U.S. Exports rise to biggest number since 1996, but oil widens trade deficit


U.S. Exports rise to biggest number since 1996, but oil widens trade deficit

Adam Russett May 11, 2011

March seemed to be a month of ups and downs, with promising results in some sectors, but a grim outlook for the overall trade deficit – which now stands at $48.2 billion, up from $45.4 billion in February. The deficit with China decreased from $18.8 billion to $18.1 billion.

However, the U.S. is sending more goods overseas, which seems to be a step in the right direction. Many experts have said that it's important for the country to make more imports rather than just consume exports from other nations. Canada and South and Central America were big consumers of American imports.

Most of these goods were based in industries such as auto, chemical and industrial machinery. United Technology, an air conditioner manufacturer, said that increased exports to growing economies has lifted sales.

"As we look across the globe, we see end markets are improving," chief financial officer of United Technology Gregory Hayes told the news source. "Emerging markets continue to lead worldwide economic growth and [our] businesses are capitalizing on this opportunity."

In March, exports were valued at $172.7 billion, which hit a new high that hasn't been reached since 1996. Oil dragged down the overall clout of the U.S. economy due to its sky-rocketing price, having risen 18 percent in March. This has caused imports to rise in price. A barrel of oil cost $93.76 in March, marking the highest price since September 2008.

"It's a pretty good number because of the exports and is an indication of domestic demand. Most in the imports come from higher oil prices, which doesn't help GDP," Pierre Ellis, senior global economist, told Reuters.

Economist Rudy Narvas seems to agree with this sentiment. He explained to the publication that the weak U.S. dollar could help export growth.