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Auto export gains narrow US trade deficit in July

The US trade deficit shrank for the third straight month in July helped by gains in exports especially from the automotive sector, Commerce Department data showed Thursday.

WASHINGTON: The US trade deficit shrank for the third straight month in July helped by gains in exports especially from the automotive sector, Commerce Department data showed on Thursday (Sep 4).

The monthly trade balance came in at a negative US$40.5 billion, down from a US$40.8 billion deficit in June. Exports rose US$1.8 billion to US$198.0 billion, while imports gained US$1.6 billion to US$238.6 billion.

Cars and trucks, parts and engines were the primary force behind the export gains, up US$1.7 billion in the month to US$15.3 billion. Also showing strength were exports of oil products, industrial machinery and telecommunications equipment, including cellphones. Meanwhile crude oil imports picked up, while consumer good imports fell.

For the year to July, the trade deficit at US$295.3 billion was 4.6 percent larger than a year ago, with exports for the seven month period up 3.1 percent year on year and imports growing 3.4 percent.

Analysts said the improvement in the deficit should give a boost to overall economic growth in the third quarter, if sustained.