NEW YORK — Global trade in February was down 1.2% from a year earlier, according to data released Thursday by the United States Department of Commerce.
Trade in goods and services, excluding import and export taxes, fell by 0.2%, or $2.2 billion, while imports dropped by $1.3 billion.
The Commerce Department’s quarterly report showed the country lost a total of $5.9 trillion in economic activity between January and February.
Analysts said the decline in trade will hurt the U.S. economy, with many companies dependent on exports and imports for their profits.
In February, the U-turn in the numbers may be temporary, with some analysts predicting a slight recovery, but it could be months before the drop is fully reflected.
“It’s going to take some time before we see the true impact,” said Michael McKenna, an economist at The Urban Institute.
“If we see a small uptick in imports and a slight uptick in exports, that’s a sign that it’s going well.”
The Commerce department said that the number of goods shipped into the U, which was at a record high in January, was down 0.4%, or 5.4 million tons.
That compares with a year ago when exports were up 0.7%.
The U.N. says the trade deficit has grown by $50 billion to $2 trillion since the end of last year.