The trade deficit in the United States decreased in May from April. This was due to cheaper oil that decreased imports and an increase in exports to China and Europe. Economists warned that the global economy had weakened since May.
Economists noted that the decline in the deficit didn’t change the growth estimates for the second quarter. The Commerce Department said that the trade deficit decreased 3.8 percent to $48.7 billion in May. This was down from $50.6 billion in April.
Exports went up 0.2 percent to $183.1 billion. The increase was due to stronger sales of telecommunications equipment and heavy machinery. Exports to the European Union increased 2.6 percent in May from April.
Imports decreased 0.7 percent to $231.8 billion. The United States spending on imported oil dropped to its lowest level in 15 months. The numbers showed that the nation was spending less on foreign products while taking in more sales for locally-made goods.
A Commerce Department report showed that American wholesale companies added to their stockpiles in May but sales at the wholesale level decreased by the largest amount in the last three years. This could make companies restock more slowly in the next months and could slow down the growth this year.
Wholesale stockpiles increased 0.3 percent in May after it increased 0.5 percent in April, which was previously reported to have a 1.1 percent gain. Sales at the wholesale level dripped 0.8 percent in May, which was the biggest decline since March 2009.
The manufacturing industry has been on a decline this year and it was due to the European financial crisis as well as the slower growth in China. Job growth has been sluggish and measly pay increases have made American consumers more cautious about spending. Consumer spending is the main factor of economic activity in the United States.