U.S. Trade Deficit Narrows in October As Exports Surge

The U.S. trade deficit narrowed unexpectedly in October compared to the previous month as the weak U.S. dollar helped boost exports to the highest level in nearly a year, a Commerce Department report showed on Thursday.

According to the report, the trade deficit narrowed 7.6% to $32.9 billion, from a revised estimate of $35.7 billion in September. Economists had been expecting the deficit to widen to about $36.8 billion. The improvement reflected a 2.5% jump in exports, led by strong gains in sales of American farm products, autos, aircraft and industrial machinery.

U.S. exports of goods and services were the highest since November 2008 and imports the highest since December 2008.

Here are some excerpts from the Commerce Dept. report:

Goods and Services

“The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, through the Department of Commerce, announced today that total October exports of $136.8 billion and imports of $169.8 billion resulted in a goods and services deficit of $32.9 billion, down from $35.7 billion in September, revised. October exports were $3.5 billion more than September exports of $133.4 billion. October imports were $0.7 billion more than September imports of $169.0 billion.

In October, the goods deficit decreased $2.6 billion from September to $44.8 billion, and the services surplus increased $0.2 billion to $11.9 billion. Exports of goods increased $3.2 billion to $93.5 billion, and imports of goods increased $0.7 billion to $138.4 billion. Exports of services increased $0.2 billion to $43.3 billion, and imports of services increased $0.1 billion to $31.4 billion.

In October, the goods and services deficit decreased $26.5 billion from October 2008. Exports were down $12.9 billion, or 8.6 percent, and imports were down $39.3 billion, or 18.8 percent.

Goods (Census basis)

The September to October increase in exports of goods reflected increases in capital goods ($1.2 billion); consumer goods ($1.0 billion); other goods ($0.6 billion);industrial supplies and materials ($0.4 billion); automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($0.4 billion); and foods, feeds, and beverages ($0.2 billion).

The September to October increase in imports of goods reflected increases in capital goods ($1.1 billion); consumer goods ($1.0 billion); automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($0.4 billion); and foods, feeds, and beverages ($0.2 billion). Decreases occurred in industrial supplies and materials ($1.8 billion) and other goods ($0.4billion).

The October 2008 to October 2009 decrease in exports of goods reflected decreases in industrial supplies and materials ($3.9 billion); capital goods ($3.8 billion);automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($2.1 billion); and foods, feeds, and beverages ($0.7 billion). Increases occurred in consumer goods ($0.4 billion) and other goods ($0.1 billion).

The October 2008 to October 2009 decrease in imports of goods reflected decreases in industrial supplies and materials ($25.0 billion); capital goods ($5.2 billion); consumer goods ($3.7 billion); automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($1.2 billion);foods, feeds, and beverages ($0.7 billion); and other goods ($0.7 billion).”

Read the full report here »

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