A report released by the Commerce Department on Friday showed the U.S. trade deficit narrowed in the month of December, as the value of exports jumped by more than the value of imports.
The Commerce Department said the trade deficit narrowed to $66.6 billion in December from a revised $69.0 billion in November.
Economists had expected the trade deficit to shrink to $65.7 billion from the $68.1 billion originally reported for the previous month.
The narrower deficit came as the value of exports surged up by 3.4 percent to $190.0 billion, while the value of imports increased by 1.5 percent to $256.6 billion.
The spike in the value of exports reflected significant increases in exports of crude oil, soybeans, capital goods and automotive vehicles and parts.
Meanwhile, notable increases in imports of industrial supplies and materials and passenger cars were partly offset by a slump in imports of consumer goods.
“Exports were boosted by a further surge in soybean shipments, presumably to China, with the value of industrial supplies trade in both directions boosted by the rebound in energy prices,” said Andrew Hunter, Senior US Economist at Capital Economics.
The report also said the goods deficit narrowed to $84.2 billion in December from $87.0 billion in November, while services surplus fell to $17.5 billion from $18.0 billion.