Washington, DC – In a surprise development, the US trade deficit narrowed in August to its smallest level in seven months on an increase in exports.
The trade gap narrowed 0.5 percent to $40.1 billion, while July’s trade deficit was revised to $40.3 billion, according to Department of Commerce figures released this morning.
Increased global sales of capital goods, consumer goods and industrial supplies were credited with the 0.2 percent increase in exports in August.
The trade gap with China narrowed in August, while exports to Japan rose to their highest level since March 1996.
Imports edged up 0.1 percent to $238.6 billion with imports of capital goods during the month were the highest on record.
However, inbound shipments of petroleum dropping to their lowest level since Nov. 2010 as US oil exports are set to surpass a record that’s held for the past 57 years.
The US shipped 401,000 barrels a day abroad in July, 54,000 shy of the record set in March 1957, according to data compiled by the US Department of Energy (DOE).
US oil exports are expected to reach 1 million barrels a day by the middle of 2015, the DOE said.
Canada accounted for 93 percent of US oil shipments in July with Italy, Singapore and Switzerland also accounting for an increasing share of US-sourced oil sales.