WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly narrowed in February as exports climbed close to an all-time high and the volume of imported crude oil fell to the lowest level in 17 years.
The Commerce Department says the gap between exports and imports shrank to $43 billion in February, down 3.4 percent from January's revised $44.5 billion. It was the smallest trade imbalance since December when the gap had declined to $38.1 billion, the lowest point in nearly three years.
Exports rose 0.8 percent to $186 billion, close to the record high set in December. Stronger exports of U.S. energy products and autos offset declines in sales of airplanes and farm equipment.
Imports were flat at $228.9 billion with the volume of crude oil falling to the lowest point since March 1996.