The U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly narrowed in September to the lowest level in almost two years as exports climbed to a record. The gap shrank 5.1 percent to $41.5 billion, the smallest since December 2010 and lower than any estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists, from $43.8 billion in August, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The increase in sales to overseas buyers was broad-based, with everything from soybeans to fuel and civilian aircraft showing gains.
Growing demand from emerging markets in South and Central America may be helping to overcome a slowdown in Europe and China that is hurting companies such as Emerson Electric Co. (EMR) At the same time, imports also climbed as U.S consumers are beginning to spend more as the job market stabilizes.
“We know that global growth is weaker than it was a year or two ago, but what we’ve seen more recently is that while the European economy remains very soft, there are signs that emerging markets have turned a corner,” Jeremy Lawson, senior U.S. economist at BNP Paribas in New York, said before the report
The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 75 economists called for the deficit to expand to $45 billion. Estimates ranged from a gap of $42 billion to $47.6 billion. The Commerce Department revised the August deficit from an initially reported $44.2 billion.
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