US trade deficit drops in October to lowest level in more than a year

Cargo ships sit docked at the Port of Savannah in Georgia

Ty Wright | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The U.S. trade deficit fell in October to its lowest level in more than a year as exports and imports both slid for the month, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

The deficit tumbled 7.6% to $47.2 billion from a revised print of $51.1 billion for September. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected the U.S. trade deficit to narrow to $48.5 billion in October.

Imports dropped by 1.7%, or $4.3 billion, to $254.3 billion. That decline was driven by fewer imports on products including cell phones, toys and games and passenger cars.

That decline could signal a weakening U.S. consumer as the trade war with China rages on. Both countries have hit each other’s products with tariffs for nearly two years, denting investor sentiment.

Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said Thursday the two sides are maintaining communications on trade, but offered no details on how those talks were progressing.

Overall, U.S. exports dipped 0.2%, or $400 million, to $207.1 billion. That decline was driven by an $800 million drop in goods sent out of the U.S., which ranged from consumer to pharmaceutical and automotive products.

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