US trade deficit narrows to four-year low in November

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

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The US trade deficit narrowed to its lowest level in four years in November, as rising sales of oil pushed US exports to a record high.

The trade gap dropped by 12.9% to $34.3bn (£20.9bn) in November, the smallest monthly deficit since October 2009, the US Commerce Department said.

Imports fell 1.4% from October as a fall in demand for foreign oil offset a record level of imported cars.

Exports rose 0.9%, boosted by a 5.6% rise in petroleum exports.

US exports were also boosted by stronger sales of American-made planes and machinery.

The drop in oil imports was helped by lower global prices.

After peaking at $102 per barrel in September, the average price of a barrel of imported crude oil has been falling. It averaged $94.69 a barrel in November.

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