The U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly narrowed in October to $32.9 billion as exports and imports rose while a measure of crude oil imports dropped to its lowest level in nine years, the Commerce Department said yesterday.

U.S. exports of goods and services increased 2.6% to $136.8 billion while imports increased 0.4% to $169.8 billion for the month.

Exports increased to the highest level since November 2008 and imports reached the highest level since December of last year.

The 7.6% drop in the trade balance from the previous month was the largest decline since May. In May, the deficit reached $25.8 billion, the lowest level since November 1999.

Economists expected the trade deficit to grow to $36.75 billion in October, according to the median estimate provided by Thomson Reuters.

The trade deficit in September was revised to $35.7 billion from $36.5 billion initially reported.

The October average of daily barrels of crude oil imports dropped to 8.34 million, the lowest since January 2000. The total barrels of crude oil imported dropped to 258.8 million from 286.2 million in September.

Exports to Canada and the European Union reached the highest level since November 2008. Exports and imports with Mexico were the highest since October 2008.

Subscribe Now

Independent and authoritative analysis and perspective for the bond buying industry.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.