Imports fell for the third consecutive month, by 0.2 per cent. The decline was almost entirely due to a drop in imported petroleum products, as both prices and volumes declined. - File photo

WASHINGTON: The US trade deficit narrowed sharply in July on a surge in exports, the Commerce Department said on Thursday.

The trade gap fell to $44.8 billion, from a downwardly revised $51.6 billion in June, according to the department's seasonally adjusted data.

Exports unexpectedly jumped 3.6 per cent following two straight months of decline, the sharpest increase since the end of the severe recession in June 2009.

The world's largest economy exported $126.9 billion of goods and $51.1 billion of services, “the highest on record,” the department said.

Imports fell for the third consecutive month, by 0.2 per cent. The decline was almost entirely due to a drop in imported petroleum products, as both prices and volumes declined.

US exporters saw strong demand for a range of goods, led by industrial supplies and materials, capital goods and automobiles and auto equipment that offset a dip in consumer items. Exports of services mainly benefited from increases in travel and other transportation.—AFP

Updated Sep 08, 2011 09:14pm

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