WASHINGTON -- For the third straight month the U.S. trade deficit shrank in July helped by gains in exports especially from the automotive sector, Commerce Department data showed Thursday.
The monthly trade balance came in at a negative $40.5 billion, down from a $40.8 billion deficit in June.
Exports rose $1.8 billion to $198.0 billion, while imports gained $1.6 billion to $238.6 billion.
Cars and trucks, parts and engines were the primary force behind the export gains, up $1.7 billion in the month to $15.3 billion.
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