SMALLER TRADE DEFICIT: The U.S. trade deficit narrowed to $43 billion in February as exports approached an all-time high and the volume of imported crude oil fell to the lowest level in 17 years.
UNDER THE HOOD: Exports rose 0.8 percent to $186 billion, close to the record high set in December. Stronger exports of U.S. energy products and autos offset declines in airplanes and farm equipment. Imports were flat at $228.9 billion with the volume of crude oil falling to the lowest point since March 1996.
AROUND THE WORLD: The deficit with China shrank to $23.4 billion, the lowest point in 11 months. Exports to the European Union were down 0.9 percent, reflecting economic weakness as that region struggles with a recession.