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Trade Deficit Narrows Slightly

June 20, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ America’s trade deficit, after setting records every month this year, finally posted a small decline to $30.4 billion in April as imports fell for the first time in 15 months.

Even with the overall improvement, the imbalance with China widened and the deficit with Japan set a record.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that the small 0.4 percent decline from a record-high trade imbalance of $30.6 billion in April reflected in large part a drop in crude oil prices after nine consecutive monthly increases.

Even with April’s improvement, the deficit for the first four months of this year is running at an annual rate of $350 billion, far surpassing last year’s record deficit of $265 billion.

In a second report today, the government said that the broadest measure of trade, the current account, climbed to a record of $102.3 billion in the first three months of this year, up 6.3 percent from a $96.2 billion deficit in the fourth quarter of 1999.

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