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US trade deficit shrinks to $43 bn in February

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The US trade deficit edged lower in February after a big jump in January, government data released Friday showed.

The Commerce Department reported the trade gap shrank to $43 billion, down from the revised $44.7 billion in January.

The decline, which came after a large 16.7 percent deficit increase in January, surprised analysts who had projected a deficit of $44.7 billion.

US exports grew 0.8 percent to $186 billion, strengthened by the exports of industrial goods (up 4.5 percent) and automobiles (up 1.6 percent).

Meanwhile, US imports held steady at $228.9 billion.

US imports of crude oil, which represent more than 10 percent of imported goods by the US, dropped 5.6 percent to $23.6 billion.

But US imports of foreign automobiles rose 4.6 percent between January and February to reach $24.8 billion.

On a 12-month basis, the US trade deficit has dropped by 3.5 percent.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130405/us-trade-deficit-shrinks-43-bn-february-0