U.S. Trade Deficit Narrows More Than Expected

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The U.S. trade deficit narrowed much more than expected in July as strong Latin American demand helped push exports to a new record and imports fell slightly, a government report showed on Thursday.

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The trade gap totaled $44.8 billion, 13.1 percent less than in June and well below a consensus forecast of $51.0 billion from Wall Street analysts surveyed before the report. It was the biggest month-to-month percentage drop in the deficit since February 2009.

U.S. exports rose 3.6 percent to a record $178.0 billion, driven by record shipments to countries in South and Central America and higher demand from China and major oil producers. Records were also set for two large categories, goods and services, as well as for capital goods and autos.

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