U.S. merchandise trade in April slumped to the lowest level in a decade as the coronavirus pandemic curtailed demand and disrupted supply lines.

Goods exports plummeted 25.2 per cent in April from the prior month, the biggest decline in records back to 1989, to US$95.4 billion, according to Commerce Department data released Friday.

Imports decreased 14.3 per cent, also the largest yet, to US$165 billion. Combined, the value of U.S. exports and imports dropped to US$260.4 billion, the lowest since April 2010.

The goods-trade deficit widened to US$69.7 billion from a revised US$65 billion a month earlier. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a US$65 billion gap.

The advance indicators report also showed retail inventories declined 3.6 per cent from March. Wholesale stockpiles rose 0.4 per cent.

The data indicate the second quarter got off to a weaker start as companies and consumers largely remained on lockdown. Analysts use these numbers to adjust estimates for quarterly economic growth.