The coronavirus pandemic has whacked global trade, and its aftershocks are expected to become more visible in the coming months.
In March, the US trade deficit amounted to $44.4 billion, according to the Census Bureau. That's up $4.6 billion from February and is in line with expectations.
Exports dropped 9.6% and imports fell 6.2%. US exports of cars, parts and engines dropped to a level not seen since November 2011.
Shutdowns starting in mid-March in the US depressed both imports and exports, and we expect further big hits to trade in April," wrote Mike Englund and Kim Rupert, economists at Action Economics, in a note.
The deficit could drop toward the $25.4 billion low it hit during the great financial crisis in May 2009, they added. The US petroleum surplus hit $2.1 billion, the highest level since the Census began tracking it in 1978.
And America's trade deficit with China fell to $11.8 billion, the lowest level since March 2004.