Unexpectedly, the U.S. trade deficit with the rest of the world dropped in October by 7.6%, as a surge in exports offset a small increase in imports, official data showed on Dec. 10.
The goods and services trade gap totaled a seasonally adjusted $32.9 billion, down from a revised $35.7 billion in September, the Commerce Department said. Most analysts had forecast the deficit would rise to $36.8 billion.
The trade deficit with China continued to widen, to $22.7 billion, its highest level in a year. The gap with China accounts for more than two-thirds of the U.S. trade deficit.
On an annual basis, the overall deficit narrowed 8.1% in October.
Exports increased 2.6% to $136.84 billion.
Imports rose 0.4% from September, to $169.78 billion, the highest level since December 2008.
Imports of petroleum products tumbled 10% by volume, as the price of crude oil slipped slightly to $67.39 a barrel. The deficit in petroleum products stood at $17.8 billion, down 13.1% from the prior month September but still represented more than half of the trade gap.
With Canada, the nation's leading trade partner, the deficit rose to $2 billon as imports surged to a year-ago high.
The gap with Japan increased slightly to $4.4 billion from $4.1 billion, while the deficit with the eurozone shrank to $3.8 billion, from 4.1 billion.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009