WASHINGTON: The US goods trade deficit fell sharply in October as both exports and imports declined, pointing to a continued reduction in trade flows that has been blamed on the Trump administration’ “America First” policy.

The Commerce Department said on Tuesday the goods trade gap dropped 5.7 per cent to $66.5 billion last month.

Exports fell 0.7pc after decreasing 1.3pc in September. Exports were depressed by a drop in shipments of foods and feeds, likely soybeans. Automobile exports also declined and were probably weighed down by a 40-day strike at General Motors, which undercut motor vehicle production.

There were also decreases in exports of capital and consumer goods. Exports of industrial supplies, however, rose.

Goods imports tumbled 2.4pc in October after falling 2.1pc in the prior month, amid decreases in imports of industrial supplies, motor vehicles and consumer goods. Imports of capital goods rebounded modestly.

The shrinking trade gap is positive for the calculation of gross domestic product and suggests trade could support the economy in the fourth quarter as growth slows amid cooling consumer spending and persistent weakness in business investment.

Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2019