The US trade deficit exploded in March to $US51.4 billion, a six-year high.

This was much more than the $US41.7 billion economists had expected, according to Bloomberg.

The nine-month slowdown at West Coast ports due to a labour contract dispute caused a backlog of cargo which is now being cleared.

“Trade balance trounces expectations as March imports rise 7.7% due to West Coast Ports resuming full operations,” Bloomberg economist Carl Riccadonna tweeted.

In their Global Economics Weekly note, Barclays economists wrote that they expected the trade balance to widen sharply “as the resolution of the West Coast port strikes led to a sharp reversal of the slump in imports.”

“Inbound cargo volumes rose sharply on the month with outbound volumes up much more modestly,” they wrote.

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