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U.S. trade deficit narrows in May on declining imports

Published 06/07/2023, 11:13 pm
Updated 06/07/2023, 11:16 pm
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Shipping containers, including one labelled "China Shipping" and another "Italia", are stacked at the Paul W. Conley Container Terminal in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., May 9, 2018.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in May, with imports of goods dropping to their lowest level since late 2021 as higher borrowing costs slow domestic demand.

The trade deficit decreased 7.3% to $69.0 billion, the Commerce Department said on Thursday. Data for April was revised slightly to show the trade gap widening to $74.4 billion instead of $74.6 billion as previously reported.

Imports of goods and services dropped 2.3% to $316.1 billion, the lowest level since December 2021. Goods imports fell 2.7% to $256.1 billion, the lowest level since October 2021. There were sharp declines in imports of industrial supplies and materials, which include crude oil, as well as food. Petroleum imports were the lowest since August 2021.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Shipping containers, including one labelled

Exports fell 0.8% to $247.1 billion. Goods exports declined 1.5% to $164.8 billion. Exports of industrial supplies and materials were the lowest since September 2021, while food shipments were the fewest in nearly two years. Petroleum exports dropped to their lowest level since December 2021.

Trade has contributed to gross domestic product for four straight quarters.

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