US trade gap narrows in October as oil exports surge

Oil refinery Texas The US has been promoting its domestic oil and gas industries

Related Stories

The US trade gap narrowed in October, as rising sales of oil pushed US exports to a record high, the US Commerce Department has said.

The trade deficit shrank to $40.6bn (£24.8bn) from $43bn in September, a drop of 5.4%.

Exports rose 1.8%, while petroleum exports rose 9.3%. The increase broke three months of falling exports.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve has said in a report that the economy is growing at a "modest to moderate rate".

Imports rose by just 0.4% while oil imports were 1.5% higher.

The figures showed US exports to China hit a record high as its trade gap with the Asian power narrowed.

Exports to Canada and Mexico also reached a new high, but imports from the European Union increased and the US's trade deficit with the EU hit a record.

Analysts say the smaller trade deficit, which was broadly in line with expectations, would help the US economic recovery.

It suggests American firms are selling more products abroad while buying less from foreign competition.

In the US, the domestic oil boom has been due mostly to fracking, a new technique used to get oil from shale deposits in locations such as North Dakota and Texas.

But the technology has come under fire by critics concerned about the environmental impacts of the procedure.

The US Energy Information Administration says imports now make up 40% of US oil consumption - down from the 60% peak reached in 2005.

Growth

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve has said that the US economy saw steady growth through October to late November.

All 12 of the Fed's regions reported growth, with most sectors also reporting expansion.

Manufacturers were optimistic about near-term growth prospects, and retailers had also been hopeful ahead of the holiday shopping season that kicked off last week with Black Friday.

Hiring improved in five of the districts, with the other seven reporting little change.

However, the Fed noted that employers were worried about the workforce skills base.

"Difficulty with finding qualified workers, especially for high-skilled positions, was frequently reported," the report said.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Business stories

RSS

BBC Business Live

  1.  
    09:05: House prices
    Graph showing house price growth since November 2004

    The annual house price has been falling since June, when growth peaked at 11.4%. Now it's only 8.5% higher than this time last year. It's worth remembering that house price growth is coming off a low base as well. Property values (that's the average for the whole of the UK) only began to rise in the summer of 2013, as the effects of the Funding for Lending and Help to Buy schemes began to be felt.

     
  2.  
    Black Friday Kadhim Shubber, reporter at the FT
    Asda

    tweets: "Unleash the capitalism #BlackFriday" (Click through for the full Vine video)

     
  3.  
    Black Friday Bryan Roberts, director at Kantar Retail
    Asda

    There are cheerleaders in Asda. Really. Bryan tweets: "Cheerleaders. This is my job. Honest."

     
  4.  
    08:24: Building Lego
    Malaysia Lego

    UK theme park operator Merlin Entertainments has announced it will open a new Legoland... in South Korea. The attraction is expected to open its doors in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province by 2017. There is already a Legoland in Malaysia, and the firm plans to build one in Dubai too.

     
  5.  
    Black Friday Bryan Roberts, director at Kantar Retail

    tweets: "6 minutes ago, this was a massive pile of TVs"

    TVs
     
  6.  
    Black Friday Sarah Butler, The Guardian

    tweets: "Crazy queues at Asda, but all calm and very British queue in place... So far"

    Black Friday
     
  7.  
    08:10: Black Friday

    Richard Main, a reporter at BBC London 94.9, emails in: "More than 150 people are now queuing to get into Asda on Edgware Road, in the hope of bagging a Black Friday deal. Police were called to the store in the early hours of the morning to control crowds. The current queue now stretches the length of the car park and is being penned in by a wall of shopping trolleys."

     
  8.  
    Black Friday Greater Manchester Police

    tweet: "At least two people arrested at #BlackFriday sales events already this morning. Keep calm people!"

     
  9.  
    08:02: Black Friday
    People sort through boxes of shoes in Macy"s

    A bit of Friday fun now. We want your best/worst Black Friday deals. What's the most ridiculous sale item you've seen or bought? What's be best/worst discount you've seen? Have you seen punch-ups over the last sale item or is everyone queuing politely? Send your stories/pictures/experiences/views of Black Friday to bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk or tweet @bbcbusiness.

     
  10.  
    07:45: Betting campaign BBC Radio 4
    Betting terminal

    The maximum stake on gambling machines known as "fixed odd betting terminals" is £100. Many think that's outrageous, as it's possible to lose an awful lot of money in a very short time. Now more than 90 councils in Britain are campaigning to have that reduced dramatically - to £2. Sir Robin Wales, the mayor of Newham in London, tells Today that gambling firms deliberately target poorer areas.

     
  11.  
    07:34: House prices
    Graph showing the average house price to average earnings ratio

    One thing to note in the latest Nationwide figures is the price-to-earnings ratio, which has tailed off ever so slightly. This measures how high house prices are, relative to the average person's salary. The higher the ratio rises, the less affordable housing becomes. Since WW2, each time average house prices have reached six times average earnings, there as been a crash.

     
  12.  
    07:22: House prices

    The price of an average house in the UK rose by 0.3% in November to £189,388, according to the latest figures from Nationwide. Overall, however, the growth in house prices slowed to 8.5%, when compared to November of last year. It was 9% in October.

     
  13.  
    07:12: Energy penalties
    Drax

    "We are deeply disappointed with the magnitude of the fine," said Drax boss Dorothy Thompson. But Ofgem's Sarah Harrison says the firm "missed its target by a clear margin" and accuses it of "disadvantaging several thousand households in some of the most deprived areas in Britain".

     
  14.  
    07:06: Energy penalties

    Another generation firm, Intergen, is also facing an £11m payout. The companies failed to meet targets to insulate homes under two energy efficiency schemes that ran until the end of 2012. The failings meant that households did not receive the energy saving measures, which would have helped to reduce their bills.

     
  15.  
    07:00: Energy penalties

    The power generation company Drax, based in North Yorkshire, has been hit with a £28m financial penalty after failing to meet targets to provide energy efficiency measures to homes. It's the largest penalty ever handed down by the energy regulator Ofgem.

     
  16.  
    06:58: Black Friday Radio 5 live

    Ms Burge tells Wake Up to Money that over the last couple of years retailers and consumers have "engaged in a game of chicken". Consumers have started holding out on retailers, she says, in the knowledge that the closer they get to Christmas, the more likely they will be to get a deal as retailers start discounting.

     
  17.  
    06:45: Tech terms

    More from Andrew Miller on tech firms' terms and conditions. "They are often laughably long and written in the kind of legalese you need a law degree from the USA to understand," says the Labour MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston.

     
  18.  
    Via Twitter NASA
    Pic of a star being sucked into a black hole

    If you don't really get all this Black Friday stuff, it's not really your bag or the fact that the spirit of Christmas has been lost in worship to Mammon is getting you down, NASA has a solution for you. It tweets: "It's #BlackFriday, but for us, it's the 2nd annual #BlackHoleFriday. Today, we'll post pics & info about black holes".

     
  19.  
    06:32: Tech terms

    The chairman of the Science and Technology Committee, Andrew Miller, told the BBC: "I simply cannot say to a constituent of mine I know with 100% certainty what they're doing with that data because frankly I don't understand those legal terms and conditions".

     
  20.  
    06:26: Tech terms

    MPs are calling for social networking companies, such as Facebook and Twitter, to explain more clearly to users what they do with information collected about them. The Commons Science Committee says the firms' terms and conditions agreements are far too long and complex for any reasonable person to read.

     
  21.  
    Via Twitter Alistair Charlton, senior technology reporter at IBTimes UK
    Black Friday

    tweets: "Tesco website down, Currys website down, shopping chaos caught on video. It's #BlackFriday."

     
  22.  
    06:12: Black Friday Radio 5 live

    Natalie Burge, retail analyst at Planet Retail, says Black Friday is a "really strange phenomenon, but it makes sense in the US" because it comes after a public holiday - a bit like Boxing Day. Whereas in the UK it's just another day. Black Friday falls on "the day of the last pay cheque before Christmas" so retailers are spotting an opportunity to get consumers to part with their hard earned cash, she adds.

     
  23.  
    06:04: Black Friday

    Shareholders among you may still recoil at the term "Black Friday" - the name given to the stock market crash of October 13, 1989. But fear not, in the shopping context, the name has no such negative connotations. It's called Black Friday because many shops make enough money to put them "in the black" for the year, apparently.

     
  24.  
    06:00: Black Friday
    Black Friday

    Police were called to a number of supermarkets in London last night, amid concern about the size of crowds waiting for the doors to open on what's become one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Increasing numbers of British retailers are adopting the American tradition of reducing some of their prices for Black Friday - the day after Thanksgiving. Some websites are already reported to be struggling to cope with demand.

     
  25.  
    06:00: Matthew West, Business Reporter

    As always, you can get in touch by emailing bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk or tweeting @BBCBusiness.

     
  26.  
    06:00: Joe Miller Business Reporter

    Good morning. In a long-awaited speech later, David Cameron will call for major changes to the benefits that can be claimed by European Union migrants. He'll say they should have to wait four years before they can claim in-work benefits such as tax credits, or be eligible for social housing. We'll bring you more on that, and the rest of the business news throughout the morning.

     

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.