The U.S. trade deficit shrunk in March as exports rebounded, a sign that U.S. growth may gain steam after a humdrum winter.
The gap dropped 3.6% to $40.4 billion, down from $41.9 billion in February, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. After inflation was factored in, the deficit fell to $49.4 billion, down from $49.8 billion the month before.
Exports also climbed 2.1% to $193.9 billion in March, the biggest since November.
Economists said it was a welcome sign of a pick up in trade following recent reports indicating sluggish U.S. growth.
Last week, the Commerce Department said the economy expanded at a small 0.1% annual pace in the first three months of the year, one of the weakest rates of growth in the almost five-year-old recovery.
The harsh winter played a big part in dampening business growth and investment. But many experts say that the U.S. should continue its steady gains in 2014.