“The scope for construction in the U.S. and in Europe to get better is enormous,” Michael DeWalt, director of investor relations for the Peoria, Illinois-based company, said at a June 5 conference. “If you look at the three biggest end markets, U.S., Europe in general and China, with the exception of Europe, I think they’re getting better but they have a lot of room to grow.”
American exports decreased 0.3% to $187.1 billion, reflecting swings among typically volatile categories. A $1.13 billion slump in gold purchases from foreign buyers was tempered by a $1.37 billion surge in demand for civilian aircraft. Sales of jewelry and gems also slackened.
After eliminating the influence of prices, which renders the numbers used to calculate gross domestic product, the trade deficit widened to $52.3 billion, the highest since November. The jump will probably prompt economists to cut second-quarter growth forecasts.
The trade gap with China, the world’s second-biggest economy, grew to $27.9 billion from $24.1 billion, today’s report showed.
The conditions are in place for China to achieve its growth targets this year, China Central Television reported this week, citing Premier Li Keqiang. The nation’s growth has stayed below 8% for the past four quarters, the first time that has happened in at least 20 years.
Oil prices have been stable, reducing pressure on the value of imports. Brent crude traded on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London at an average $103.3 a barrel in May, little- changed from April, and closed at $104 yesterday.
At the same time, a stronger U.S. currency makes American exports less attractive to overseas buyers. The Dollar Index, used by IntercontinentalExchange Inc. to track the greenback against currencies of six U.S. trading partners, has gained 5.6% through yesterday from this year’s low on Feb. 1.
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