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$11.9-Billion Trade Deficit Is 3rd Highest on Record

From Associated Press

The monthly U.S. foreign trade deficit rose to almost $11.9 billion in April, the third largest on record, the government reported Friday.

The imbalance, highest yet in 1985, was attributed in large part to a big jump in petroleum imports and continued declines in exports of manufactured goods and agricultural products, the Commerce Department said.

The April deficit compared to $11 billion in March and brought the imbalance for the first four months of the year to $44.6 billion--5.8% greater than in the first four months of 1984.

The Commerce Department said that the increase in the April deficit was due largely to a $1.6-billion rise in petroleum imports over March.

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The department said that this, in turn, was due primarily to the inclusion of a large number of March petroleum shipments in the April data because of the late receipt of import documents from some ports.

The April figure, which also reflects a rise in Japanese auto imports, was the largest since last July’s $13.7 billion.

The rampaging trade deficit is being cited as the main reason for the country’s poor overall economic performance.

As measured by the gross national product, the economy grew only 0.7% the first three months of this year.

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For the first four months of 1985, the deficit is running at an annual rate of $133.2 billion, and experts are unanimous in saying that the final 1985 figure is sure to exceed last year’s record $123.3 billion.

April imports, which totaled $29.6 billion, were 0.5% above the $29.5 billion in March and 0.8% more than the $29.4 billion of April, 1984.

April exports, which totaled $17.8 billion, were 3.6% less than the $18.4 billion of March but 1.5% more than the $17.5 billion of April 1984.

Oil imports were up 48.3% by volume in April and 49.7% in value.

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