WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US trade deficit shrunk to 57.6 billion dollars in August, as rising exports offset higher costs for imported oil, government data showed Thursday.
Adjusted for inflation, it was the lowest level since February 2004, and in absolute terms the lowest since January, Commerce Department figures showed.
The trade gap was also better than the average analyst expectation of a deficit of 59.5 billion dollars, and marked a 2.4 percent drop from July's revised figure of 59 billion dollars.
Exports rose 0.4 percent in August to a record 138.3 billion dollars, helped by the weak dollar. Imports meanwhile fell 0.4 percent to 195.9 billion dollars.
Oil prices remained a big factor in the deficit, accounting for 24.3 billion dollars of the deficit, with the average price of an imported barrel hitting a record 69.09 dollars.
The other big factor in the deficit was China, which accounted for 22.5 billion dollars of the deficit even though the figure was down 5.4 percent for the month.