KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Federal Reserve Governor John LaWare said the wider U.S. trade deficit in April carries little meaning in an environment in which global economies are declining.

Mr. LaWare made his remarks to reporters Thursday after a public hearing of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council.

The April trade deficit, reported the same day, was $6.97 billion, compared with $5.58 billion in March.

"Those are our customers. Customers aren't buying. We don't have exports," Mr. LaWare said.

Economy Not a Rocket

Asked if economic conditions are improving, he said, "I think they're fine, and I think we're coming out of this [recession, but] we're not going to come out of it like a rocket out of a launching tube," Mr. LaWare said. "We're coming out of it steadily, and I think soundly.

"Our economy isn't going backward," he added.

Asked whether additional economic stimulus was needed, Mr. LaWare said, "No, I don't think so personally, but you're not going to trap me into talking monetary policy."

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