The US trade gap has jumped to its highest level in six years after imports surged following the end of a ports dispute on the west coast.
The trade deficit jumped by so much, 43%, that it suggests the US economy contracted in the first quarter. Several analysts have speculated Q1 will be poor because of bad weather. It was the biggest percentage rise since 1996.
Prices for U.S. Treasuries turned positive after the data, while U.S. stock index futures added to losses. The dollar was slightly weaker against a basket of currencies.
March’s percentage increase in imports was the largest on record.
It all means a turnaround form 2014’s last quarter growth, but markets are expecting better once the temporary weather and strike factors work their way out of the system.