U.S. Trade Deficit Narrows Thanks to Rising Exports

The United States' October trade balance stood at a deficit of $40.6 billion, an improvement over the deficit of $43 billion that was posted in September, the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis announced today. This trade deficit is also an improvement relative to the $42.6 billion deficit in October of last year.

The narrowing trade deficit was driven primarily by a $3 billion increase in exports of goods to other countries as shown in the chart below:

Source: U.S. Census Bureau. Change is from September 2013 to October 2013. Numbers are rounded.

The biggest increases in goods from September to October came from the increased level of exports of industrial supplies and materials, which were up $1.5 billion, consumer goods, which rose $1.0 billion, as well as foods, feeds, and beverages, which saw exports rise $600 million. There was however a decrease in the exports of automotive vehicles, parts, and engines, which fell by approximately $200 million.

A 6% gain in petroleum exports also helped push exports to a record $192.7 billion. U.S. petroleum exports are up 9.3% in the first 10 months of this year compared with the same period in 2012. At the same time, petroleum imports are down 11.1%. The drop in oil imports has been helped by lower global prices.

The chart below outlines imports and exports since the beginning of 2012, and the gap between the two is the total trade deficit:


Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

The three-month moving average of the total trading deficit did move up slightly from September to October from $40.2 billion to $40.9 billion.

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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