The US trade deficit fell more than expected in November ahead of negotiations with China that cooled the simmering tariff battle between the two sides.
The shortfall in goods and services declined to US$43.09 billion for the month, below the $43.6 estimate from economists surveyed by Dow Jones. That was down sharply from $46.9 billion in October, which was revised lower from an initially reported $47.2 billion, according to CNBC.
President Donald Trump has made reducing the trade deficit a major priority of his administration, and November marks the first month that it actually happened. The gap had continued to grow despite the White House's intense pressuring of Beijing to loosen its trade barriers and to stop appropriating US technology.
The deficit with China decreased $2.2 billion in November to $25.6 billion owing to a $1.4 billion increase in exports and an $800 million decline in imports. The fall in imports is not expected to last but likely will contribute to the stronger fourth-quarter GDP reading.
Overall for the US, exports rose $1.4 billion to $208.6 billion while imports fell $2.5 billion to $251.7 billion.
On a year-to-date basis, the total deficit of goods and services fell $3.9 billion, or 0.7 per cent, from the same period in 2018, due almost entirely to a decline in imports.