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Oct 9, 2009 8:46 AM by Associated Press

August trade deficit narrows unexpectedly to $30.7 billion

The U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly narrowed in August as exports posted a small gain and imports fell on a big drop in demand for foreign oil.

The Commerce Department says the trade deficit declined 3.5 percent to $30.7 billion, surprising economists who had expected higher oil prices to push the imbalance to $33 billion. Oil prices did shoot up, but the volume of shipments dropped sharply in August.

The continued rise in exports may be viewed as an encouraging sign that the global economy is starting to recover from a severe recession that began in the United States and quickly spread to other parts of the world.

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