U.S. trade deficit narrows 3.6%
The United States in August closed its trade deficit by $1.2 billion to $30.7 billion from July as imports of goods continued to wane, the Commerce Department reported Friday.
Overall, U.S. trade fell 1 percent, breaking a string of three consecutive months of improving trade activity, according to WorldCity, a company that compiles and translates trade data for use by the South Florida business community and other customers.
The difference between goods bought and sold as a nation decreased $800 million to $41.9 billion as imports decreased by that amount and exports stayed flat at $86.8 billion. Most of the import decline was attributed to oil. Total imports for goods and services fell $900 million to $159.8 billion ($128.7 billion for goods) and total exports were $128 billion. Exports of services edged up $200 million.
U.S. exports are expected to outpace other parts of the economy because of the weak dollar and huge stimulus packages being implemented by governments worldwide.
The trade deficit was $33.4 billion, or 20.7 percent, less than in August 2008. The comparison is skewed by high oil prices one year ago given the large amounts of crude oil imported by the United States.
The flat trade performance, compared to double-digit declines in imports and exports earlier this year and last, indicate that economic stability is slowly returning to the U.S. market.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Friday its composite of leading economic indicators continue to point to recovery in all major economies, with tentative signs of possible economic expansion in France and Italy. The index increased 1.5 points in August from July and was 0.6 points higher than a year ago.