US trade deficit drops to lowest in nine yearsApril 9th, 2009 - 9:27 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, April 9 (Xinhua) The US trade deficit fell by 28.3 percent in February to $25.97 billion, the lowest since November 1999, the commerce department reported Thursday.
This marked a record seventh straight month of trade deficit decline in the country. Analysts had been expecting the trade imbalance to narrow to $36.4 billion.
US exports of goods and services unexpectedly increased by 1.6 percent in February to $126.76 billion, the first increase after six straight monthly declines.
Imports declined by 5.1 percent to $152.7 billion, showing that the domestic demand in the US has been badly restrained by the deepening economic recession.
The drop in imports was led by a 16.3 percent plunge in imported crude oil, which fell to $10 billion, the lowest level since April 2004.
The decline in imported oil reflected a fall in oil prices. The average price for a barrel of crude oil dropped to $39.22, down significantly from the highs of last summer.
For 2009, analysts expect the US trade deficit to shrink by a large margin as the recession depresses demand for imported products.