Dec 10, 2009 9:30 AM by Martin Crutsinger
The U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly narrowed in October as exports surged to the highest level in nearly a year. Growing exports, boosted by a weaker dollar, are expected to boost demand for American manufactured goods in coming months and provide important strength to the overall economic recovery.
The Commerce Department says the trade deficit fell to $32.9 billion in October, 7.6 percent below a revised September deficit of $35.7 billion. Economists had expected the deficit to increase to $36.8 billion.
The improvement reflected a 2.5 percent jump in exports, led by strong gains in sales of American farm products, autos, aircraft and industrial machinery. Imports rose a smaller 0.4 percent, a gain that was held back by a big drop in oil imports.