US trade deficit narrows in February

Cargo container being loaded onto a ship in Boston Exports to the EU rose in February

The US trade deficit narrowed in February after imports fell and exports hit a new record, figures show.

The US Commerce Department said the deficit shrank to $46bn (£29bn)in February, down from $52.5bn in January.

Exports rose by 0.1% to an all-time high of $181.2bn, led by services and capital goods exports.

Imports fell by 2.7% to $227.2bn, with imports from China down by 18.2%. Oil imports also fell, dropping to the lowest level since February 1997.

According to the report from the Commerce Department, Canada remains the biggest trade partner for the US. Goods and services worth $23.5bn were sent across the border, up 7.2% on January.

Despite Europe's economic slowdown, exports to EU nations rose to $22.5bn up 6.7% from January. Exports to the UK rose 14% to a record $5.3bn.

The automotive business is the biggest single exporting industry contributing $11.9bn to February's export total, down 6.4% from January.

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