The numbers: The U.S. trade deficit in goods narrowed 5.6% to $98.2 billion in June, according to the Commerce Department’s advanced estimate released Wednesday.
Economists polled by Econoday were looking for the deficit to narrow only slightly to a $103.2 billion deficit.
Key details: Exports of goods rose $4.4 billion to $181.5 in June. Imports fell $1.5 billion to $279.7 billion.
The data is not adjusted for inflation. The complete report on the international trade deficit, which will include inflation-adjusted data, will be released on Aug. 4
Big picture: Trade data has been volatile during the pandemic. Essentially, the U.S. consumer has been the “buyer-of-last-resort” for world economy. With the International Monetary Fund warning the global economy might soon fall into a recession, trade activity might shrink with weaker activity impacting exports.
The narrowing of the deficit in June could provide a boost to second-quarter GDP growth, to be released Thursday.
Some economists are predicting a contraction in GDP in the second quarter, which would be the second straight negative quarterly print. That has been a common definition of a recession, although, as is the case with so much about the economy during the pandemic, many economists and Federal Reserve officials say “this time is different” and the U.S. economy remains healthy.