The US trade deficit narrowed sharply in October to $US38.7 billion - much lower than expected.
Wall Street analysts had expected the deficit to be $US43.6 billion, only slightly below a revised $US44.6 billion for October.
The surprise number was due to a 0.5% fall in imports versus the previous month, suggesting spending in the United States remains subdued. Exports rose 3.5%.
Despite the strong performance for the month, the BBC reports the US deficit for 2010 as a whole has risen considerably.
At the current rate, it is on course to reach about $500 billion for the year, up from $346 billion in 2009.