The US trade deficit shrank much more than expected in April to $58.5 billion (€43.29 billion), a US Commerce Department report showed today.
The trade gap narrowed 6.2 per cent from a downwardly revised estimate for March. The April tally fell below the $60 billion (€44.40 billion) to $66.9 billion range of estimates made by analysts surveyed before the report.
The Commerce Department also revised its estimate of the 2006 trade deficit to $758.5 billion (€561.31 billion) , from a previously reported $765.3 billion (€566.34 billion).
US exports rose slightly to a record $129.5 billion. The 0.2 per cent increase partly reflected a $3 billion upward revision in March exports to $129.2 billion.
Exports of both goods and services set records, and several categories such as foods, feeds and beverages, industrial supplies and materials and consumer goods also hit all-time highs.
A 1.9 per cent drop in overall imports also helped rein in the trade deficit, despite a jump in the average price of imported oil to $57.28 per barrel that boosted the dollar value of oil imports to the highest since September.
Imports of consumer goods dropped $1.5 billion in April, while cars and car parts fell by $1 billion. Other categories, such as capital goods and foods, feeds and beverages, also showed a decline.