U.S. Trade Deficit Falls to Lowest Level Since December 2010


WASHINGTON -- The U.S. trade deficit declined to the lowest level in almost two years as exports rose to a record high, a gain that is not expected to last given the global economic slowdown.

The trade deficit narrowed to $41.5 billion in September, the Commerce Department said Thursday. That is 5.1 percent below the August deficit and the smallest imbalance since December 2010.

Exports climbed 3.1 percent to an all-time high of $187 billion, reflecting stronger sales of commercial aircraft, heavy machinery and farm goods. Imports were also up, rising 1.5 percent to $228.5 billion, reflecting a jump in shipments of consumer goods from cell phones to clothing and toys.

So far this year, the U.S. deficit is running at an annual rate of $554 billion, slightly below last year's $559.9 billion imbalance, which had been 13.2 percent higher than 2010.

The U.S. deficit with China increased to $29.1 billion in September and is running 6.8 percent ahead of last year's record pace. America's deficit with China last year was the highest imbalance ever recorded with a single country.

Exports to the 27-nation European Union totaled $21.3 billion in September, unchanged from the August export level. Exports to Latin America showed a 4.2 percent increase in September although exports to Brazil, South America's biggest economy, fell 1.8 percent. Exports to China, a fast-growing market for the United States, rose 2.1 percent in September.

A wider trade deficit acts as a drag on growth. It typically means the U.S. is earning less on overseas sales of American-produced goods while spending more on foreign products.

In the July-September quarter, the economy grew at an annual rate of 2 percent, a slight pickup from the 1.3 percent expansion turned in from April through June. But trade trimmed the third quarter performance by 0.18 percentage point, reflecting a drop in exports.

Most economists believe that the economy will continue with weak growth of around 2 percent for the final three months of this year. Growth at that level is not fast enough to translate into a significant improvement in the trade deficit.

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when someone can report that the US trade deficit is below the 1940's level, than it's time to get excited.

November 09 2012 at 4:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Our corporate tax is highest in the World, we surpassed Japan in March 2012 - almost 40% corporate tax, just wants to make a person open up all kinds of businesses here

November 09 2012 at 4:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to licwinko's comment

If you are going to quote facts, lets try to be completely honest.

Loopholes and other special treatment for different kinds of businesses mean that businesses pay an effective rate of only 29.2% of their income, which puts the United States below the average of 31.9% among other major economies.

As they say, figures lie and liars figure.....

November 09 2012 at 9:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So sad that the right hates to see America succeed.

November 09 2012 at 3:11 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cazsue's comment

Yes, those darn right Americans, they have nerve wanting to have a stronger workforce, better pay, a home, savings, food, gas, clothes, etc, what is wrong with them! lol

November 09 2012 at 4:09 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
Sean and Shelley

Global economic downturn--since the reelection of President Obama. And where is Obama's focus? On jobs? the economy? No, the UN global gun ban and all the usual liberal favorite causes. Just wait until 2013 and 2014's massive tax increases hit via Obamacare and all the other rot Obama had put off well after his reelection. Romney's loss is a catastrophic loss to the confidence of the WORLD not only here. But just as long as the 47% get their monthly government check, they could care less. We've passed the tipping point of "ask what you can do for your country, not what your country can do for you." We are of a new mind set with half the country--and now, we're the big ship taking on water--only to sink faster and faster from here on out. Sad,

November 09 2012 at 2:02 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Why the spin now? Your man has won and America has lost.

November 08 2012 at 8:22 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Now they forgot to tell you that with most products made over seas that if americans who are out of work are not buying goods which means a lowering of the trade inbalance Its not that we are making and selling more products because america is not and that because we are still moving jobs out of the country Now when the president and and others in government get rid of their investments in china maybe then we can do something serious about trade

November 08 2012 at 3:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well, they say 50% of the people in the USA want handouts form the government. They voted and we get Obama. Four years of doing nothing but going on vacations and playing golf is a true sign of a leader. He should be leading congerss to get things done and kick Harry Reid in the butt for not letting anything pass thru the Senate. We must get rid of the grid lock. Other wise, we are doomed. Hell, Harry Reid cannot even get a budget together. 4 years without a budget which is required under the constitution of the USA. What is wrong with these people?

November 08 2012 at 1:39 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to sstuczynsk's comment

They are Democrats!!

November 09 2012 at 2:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If you don't think we're being punished, read The Harbinger.

November 08 2012 at 1:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Who can afford to buy anything, even food?

November 08 2012 at 11:57 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

More 'false flag' good news...

The Trade Deficit has lowered NOT due to some brilliant economic moves or policies that have increased our exports, but instead due to our lethargic economy leading to a sharp reduction in imports...

Since our ONLY real exports are Oil and Automobiles, and those two markets continue to do just fine overseas, there has been a tiny fall off there compared to the huge lack of consumer spending that has curtailed imports.

November 08 2012 at 10:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply