The U.S. February trade balance continued to gap narrower as the recession reduced domestic demand and special factors boosted exports.

The February trade balance printed a minus-$26.0 billion after a negative $36.2 billion in January, quite an improvement from deficits in the minus $50-$60 billion range just four months ago. This is its narrowest showing since November 1999.

Imports plummeted $8.2 billion, down more than 5%, and exports advanced $2.0 billion during the month.

Imports dropped across a broad front to approximately five-year lows in many areas, reflecting the recession: oil-related were down $2 billion, capital goods were down $1.9 billion, autos were down $940 million, and consumer goods were down $1.4 billion as toys, furniture and apparel fell.

— Market News International

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