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U.S. Trade Deficit Widens Less Than Expected To $43.7 Billion

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A report released by the Commerce Department on Wednesday showed the U.S. trade deficit came in slightly wider in the month of July.

The Commerce Department said the trade deficit widened to $43.7 billion in July from a revised $43.5 billion in June.

Economists had expected the deficit to widen to $44.6 billion from the $43.6 billion originally reported for the previous month.

The report showed the slightly wider trade deficit came as the value of exports fell by a little more than the value of imports.

The Commerce Department said the value of exports dipped by 0.3 percent to $194.4 billion in July from $194.9 billion in June, reflecting notable decreases in exports of passenger cars and consumer goods.

Meanwhile, the value of imports edged down by 0.2 percent to $238.1 billion in July from $238.5 billion in the previous month.

Decreases in imports of crude oil and passenger cars were partly offset by increases in imports of computers and computer accessories.

"Obviously, a lot can change since this is only the first month of data for the quarter," said Paul Ashworth, Chief U.S. Economist at Capital Economics. "But, as it stands now, net external trade should add to third-quarter GDP growth, which we expect to be between 2.5% and 3.0% annualized."

He added, "Furthermore, with the dollar weakening markedly over the past nine months and surveys pointing to a further acceleration in export growth, we expect net external trade to continue to provide a boost to the real economy well into 2018."

While the Commerce Department said the goods deficit narrowed to $65.3 billion in July from $65.4 billion in May, the services surplus also narrowed to $21.6 billion from $21.8 billion.

by RTT Staff Writer

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