The US trade deficit narrowed unexpectedly in October, falling to $32.94 billion as the rise in exports from September of goods such as cars was slightly higher than the increase in imports. The figure, representing the US deficit in international trade of goods and services, is 7.6% lower than the downwardly revised $35.65 billion trade gap the US ran in September. Separately, the number of US workers filing new claims for jobless benefits rose more than economists expected last week. Total claims lasting more than one week, meanwhile, fell.
The US monthly international trade deficit decreased in October 2009, according to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis and the US Census Bureau. The deficit decreased from $35.7 billion (revised) in September to $32.9 billion in October, as exports increased more than imports. The previously published September deficit was $36.5 billion.
Exports of goods and services increased $3.5 billion in October to $136.8 billion, mostly reflecting an increase in goods exports. Services exports also increased.
- The increase in goods exports was mostly accounted for by increases in capital goods, consumer goods, and other goods.
- The increase in services exports was mostly accounted for by an increase in other private services (which includes items such as business, professional, and technical services, insurance services, and financial services).
Imports of goods and services increased $0.7 billion in October to $169.8 billion, mostly reflecting an increase in goods imports. Services imports also increased.
- The increase in goods imports was more than accounted for by increases in capital goods and consumer goods.
- The increase in services imports was mostly accounted for by an increase in passenger fares.
Goods by geographic area (not seasonally adjusted)
- The goods deficit with Canada increased from $1.5 billion in September to $2.0 billion in October. Exports increased $0.7 billion to $19.2 billion, while imports increased $1.2 billion to $21.2 billion.
- The goods deficit with China increased from $22.1 billion in September to $22.7 billion in October. Exports increased $1.0 billion to $6.9 billion, while imports increased $1.6 billion to $29.5 billion.
- The goods deficit with the European Union decreased from $5.5 billion in September to $4.9 billion in October. Exports increased $2.5 billion to $20.6 billion, while imports increased $1.8 billion to $25.5 billion.
Initial claims for jobless benefits rose by 17,000 to 474,000 in the week ended Dec. 5th. The previous week's level was unrevised at 457,000.
A Labor Department analyst said that an increase in claims is generally expected during this time of year because it reflects data from the week after Thanksgiving and because construction lay-offs tend to occur in that week.
"Generally...that week sees the biggest percentage increase in initial claims over the year, and this year was no exception,"he said.
The four-week moving average, fell by 7,750 to 473,750 from the previous week's revised average of 481,500 - - the lowest level since September 27, 2008.
The number of continuing claims - - claims lasting more than one week - - in the week ended Nov. 28th -- fell by 303,000 to 5,157,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 5,460,000.