The US trade deficit dropped to its lowest level in more than five years in November as the economic slowdown led to lower demand for imports.
The Commerce Department said on Tuesday the trade deficit shrank 28.7% from October to $US40.4 billion.
Total imports fell 12%, led by a 36.5% drop in oil imports after the price of crude dropped sharply.
The BBC reports there are expectations that the trade deficit will continue to narrow as 2009 progresses.
The latest deficit figure was lower than expected and came after a downwardly revised $US56.7 billion deficit for October.
The trade deficit with China dropped to $US23.1 billion from $US28 billionn following a sharp drop in imports into the US from China.