In a better showing than expected by economists, the U.S. recorded a $43.1 billion trading deficit in September.
The improvement from August, when the deficit was $44.9 billion – together with lower unemployment numbers – are giving some hope that the U.S. economy will continue to advance.
In September, there were total exports of $180.4 billion and imports of $223.5 billion.
The goods deficit increased $2.0 billion from August to $58.9 billion in September, and the services surplus- the bright spot in the deficits picture- increased $0.2 billion to $15.8 billion.
The smaller deficits number still leaves the U.S. staring at a significant trading deficit this year, but improvements are improvements.
“The economy is clearly regaining its footing,” said Millan Mulraine, a senior US strategist at TD Securities, who predicted the trade deficit would shrink and jobless claims would decline. “While global economic activity is slowing, it hasn’t collapsed, so the US will be able to sustain healthy gains in exports. The deceleration in the pace of layoffs is positive for the outlook on consumer spending.”
Helping to narrow the deficit, the average price of a barrel of imported oil fell to $101.02 in September, compared to $102.62 in August.