Exports of goods increased $11.7 billion, led by a $5.2 billion increase in exports of industrial supplies and materials and a $2.9 billion increase in capital goods.
Imports of goods increased $15.3 billion, paced by a $4.5 billion increase in consumer goods and a $3.7 billion increase in industrial supplies and materials.
The goods deficit with China increased $6.7 billion to $36.9 billion in March, with exports increasing $0.9 billion and imports increasing $7.6 billion.
The real trade deficit of $103.1 billion left the first quarter average deficit at $99.4 billion. That is 5.5% larger than the fourth quarter average and, consequently, will be imputed as a drag on Q1 GDP growth.The key takeaway from the report is that both exports and imports increased sharply, which is a telltale sign of increased demand. Importantly, it was exports and imports of both industrial supplies and materials and consumer goods that paced the pickup in trade activity, speaking to the uptick in demand seen for businesses and consumers alike.