Record US exports in April tempered fears that the econ-omic recovery was running off the rails, even though first-time claims for jobless benefits edged higher last week.
A Commerce Department report yesterday showed the US trade deficit narrowed unexpectedly in April, as exports rose to a record and imports from Japan tumbled more than 25 per cent after its earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.
The trade gap totalled $43.7 billion (Dh160.48 billion) despite a jump in oil prices to the highest since September 2008, down 6.7 per cent from a revised estimate of $46.8 billion in March, suggesting stronger second-quarter economic growth than economists had expected.
"A lot of forecasters, ourselves included, had lowered expectations for the second quarter, and this will reverse some of that reduction in expectations," said David Resler, chief US economist at Nomura Securities International.
Oil prices slid in May from April peaks but are creeping higher again after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries on Wednesday failed to agree on production increases.
A second report from the Labour Department, however, showed the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment aid unexpectedly edged higher last week, reinforcing a view that the job market recovery has stalled.
Initial claims for state jobless benefits increased 1,000 to 427,000. Economists had forecast claims to drop.
First-time claims have now been perched above the 400,000 mark for nine weeks in a row.
From / Gulf News