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Trade Gap Shrinks To $8.04 Billion

Thu., Jan. 22, 1998, midnight

America’s trade deficit unexpectedly narrowed to $8.04 billion in November as a big drop in demand for imported oil and record exports of U.S. autos spurred the country’s best trade performance in eight months.

The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that the deficit in goods and services was down 11.6 percent from a revised October figure of $9.09 billion.

While deficits with Japan and China both shrank dramatically, analysts cautioned that the good news probably will be short-lived as economic turmoil in Asia begins to push the U.S. numbers higher.

“This is the calm before the storm. We will see much worse deficit figures in 1998,” said Larry Chimerine, senior economist at the Economic Strategy Institute.

Through the first 11 months of 1997, the trade deficit in goods and services has been running at an annual rate of $114 billion, essentially unchanged from 1996.



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