International Trade is another term for trade surplus (or deficit). This is one of those important economic measures, because it directly impacts GDP - by definition, a trade surplus is directly added to GDP and a trade deficit is directly subtracted from GDP. So the market keeps an eye on this figure and reacts accordingly.
Last month, March was reported to have had an expectation-missing trade deficit of $48.2 billion. And nobody (in the US, anyway) was happy. This month, the Econoday-surveyed analysts are expecting to see April be even worse, with a trade deficit widening to $49.0 billion. Are they right? Let's go to the joint US Census Bureau and US Bureau of Economic Analysis news release to find out.
In short, the analysts are wrong. The trade deficit narrowed substantially to a level of $43.7 billion. What's driving that? Well, we have a $2.0 billion increase in industrial supplies and materials exports, a $1.2 billion increase in capital goods exports, a $2.8 billion decrease in automotive vehicles and parts imports, and a $1.5 billion decrease in industrial supplies and materials imports. We did see some sectors come in with reduced exports and/or increased imports, of course, but the gains outweighed the losses this month.
So this minor mid-day rally we're seeing in the markets? Yeah, I'm ascribing it (at least in part) to this better than expected news.