11 December 2009 | Jake Kanter
The US trade deficit unexpectedly decreased in October as exports rose sharply, latest figures show.
The US Department of Commerce said the deficit – a measurement showing the greater value of imports over exports – narrowed to $32.9 billion (£20.2 billion) in October. This was 7.6 per cent lower than the revised figure of $35.7 billion (£21.9 billion) the month before.
Analysts had predicted that the trade gap would widen. The data showed the value of goods and services exports increased by $3.5 billion (£2.1 billion) in October to $136.8 billion (£83.8 billion) - the highest level since November 2008. The rise was driven by demand for capital and consumer products, as well as car parts and food and beverages.
The Department of Commerce’s figures also revealed that imports increased 0.4 per cent to $169.8 billion (£104 billion).
Commerce secretary Gary Locke struck a note of caution, despite “significant progress” on exports levels. “Today’s numbers remind us that much work remains to rebalance our trading relationships around the world,” he said in a statement.
Elsewhere, official figures showed that Chinese exports in November rose 2.6 per cent to $113.7 billion (£69.6 billion) compared with the month before. Although this was down 1.2 per cent year on year, it was the fifth consecutive month of growth in 2009.