The U.S. July trade data reflect how the summer peaks in oil prices boosted imports and, with crude prices currently in retreat, mask underlying improvement.

The July trade balance printed down — $62.2 billion as crude prices peaked at a record average $124.66 and volume rebounded. July imports posted a $8.7 billion rise as a result, with $7.2 billion of the gain in oil and related products. The June trade balance was a revised $58.8 billion deficit.

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