Declining 1.7% from May, the U.S. trade deficit narrowed to $58.1 billion in June, mainly on the strength of exports, the Commerce Department said Aug. 14. It was the smallest gap since February.
The improved performance in June came despite surging oil prices and in the context of a soft dollar, which makes U.S. exports comparatively cheaper to buy.
Over the first six months of the year, the trade deficit totaled $352.7 billion, sharply lower than the $382.3 billion registered for the same period in 2006. That downward trend puts the U.S. on track for a yearly decline in the trade deficit, which would be the first in six years.
Exports were the main factor driving the deficit down in June, rising 1.5% from the prior month to a record $134.5 billion.
Supported by the dollar's weakness, Americans sold record amounts of industrial supplies, automobiles, capital goods and food products, the Commerce Department said. Exports of consumer goods declined.
Imports rose 0.5% to $192.7 billion, another record high. The increase was led by imports of automobiles and capital goods.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007