America’s merchandise trade deficit shrank to $56.9 billion in March, the lowest in more than a year, advanced data issued by the Commerce Department showed on Wednesday.
The 10.3 percent improvement from February’s final reading of a $63.4 billion gap reflected a collapse in imports of goods, which reached the lowest level in more than five years. The decline in merchandise entering the U.S. was broad-based, including a slump in consumer goods, less capital equipment and fewer industrial supplies.
The March deficit in goods was the smallest since February 2015 and was lower than the median forecast of $62.8 billion, based on estimates from economists in a Bloomberg survey. The narrowing is prompting economists to revise up their tracking estimates for first-quarter gross domestic product, which is released on Thursday. Economists at Capital Economics took their projection to 1.4 percent from 0.8 percent.
The value of imported merchandise slumped 4.4 percent to $173.6 billion, the lowest since December 2010. American exports declined 1.2 percent to $116.7 billion.