Page last updated at 15:03 GMT, Friday, 9 October 2009 16:03 UK

Weak dollar improves US trade gap

Shipping containers, Long Beach, California
The US imported fewer goods in August than in July

The US trade deficit shrank unexpectedly in August as the weak dollar boosted exports, according to figures from the Commerce Department.

The deficit, which is the difference between US imports and exports, fell to $30.7bn (£19.3bn) from a revised estimate of $31.9bn in July.

Exports rose slightly on the back of the weak dollar while imports fell.

The dollar has slipped recently, with traders moving into other currencies as the global economy begins to recover.

"I would interpret a flattening out of the trade deficit showing a broader stability in the economy," said Keith Hembre at FAF Advisors.

Imports in August totalled $158.9bn, compared with $159.8bn in July. Exports totalled $128.2bn, compared with $128bn in July.

The slight fall in imports reflects a small reduction in demand for goods among US consumers.

When the US economy begins to grow more strongly, this demand should pick up and the deficit could grow again.

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