11 Jul 2009

US trade gap shrinks

9:55 am on 11 July 2009

The US trade deficit fell in May as exports picked up for the first time in two months.

The Commerce Department said on Friday the deficit fell almost 10% in May to a seasonally adjusted $US26 billion - the lowest level since November 1999.

The May deficit was 57.1% lower than a year ago, while trade volume grew by 0.4%.

The April deficit was lowered to $US28.8 billion ($A36.8 billion) from $US29.2 billion ($A37.3 billion).

The reduction in the trade gap in May resulted from a slight decline in imports and a stronger increase in exports as the weak dollar made US goods and services more affordable. Oil imports were down by 11%.

Overall imports fell for the 10th consecutive month to $US149.3 billion - their lowest level since July 2004.

Exports, which fell in two preceding months, increased by 1.6% to $US123.3 billion.