Exports Hit Record High Heading Into the Fourth Quarter

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The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in October, according to data released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis on Wednesday. The trade gap shrank from -$43 billion in September (revised from -$41.8 billion) to -$40.6 billion in October.

Total October exports increased 1.8 percent on the month to a record $192.7 billion, and total imports increased nearly half a percent to $233.3 billion, yielding a deficit that was slightly wider than the $40.2 billion estimated by economists. For the three months ended in October, the United States ran an average trade deficit of $40.9 billion ($190.5 billion average exports and $231.4 billion average imports), slightly wider than the average deficit of $40.2 billion ($189.5 billion average exports and $229.8 billion average imports) for the three months ended September.

At a glance, the data is good news for fourth-quarter gross domestic product. October exports were the highest on record, and continued foreign demand for U.S. goods and services — particularly industrial supplies and, increasingly, energy goods — could support manufacturing.

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