News Summary: US trade deficit falls to $38.8B

News Summary: US trade deficit drops to $38.8B in March as imported crude falls to 17-year low

Associated Press
News Summary: US trade deficit falls to $38.8B

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In this March 1, 2013 photo, a crane removes a container from a ship at the Port of Baltimore's Seagirt Marine Terminal in Baltimore. The government reports on the U.S. trade deficit for March, Thursday, May 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

SMALLER DEFICIT: The U.S. trade deficit fell 11 percent to $38.8 billion in March as the daily flow of imported crude oil dropped to the lowest level in 17 years. The deficit with China hit a three-year low.

TWIN DECLINE: Exports fell 0.9 percent to $184.3 billion as sales of machinery, autos and farm products declined. Imports fell 2.8 percent to $223.1 billion, led by a 4.4 percent drop in foreign petroleum. Crude oil imports averaged just 7 million barrels per day, the lowest since March 1996.

THE OUTLOOK: A smaller trade gap can boost overall economic growth as American companies earn more from overseas sales while U.S. consumers and businesses spend less on foreign products.

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