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September 8, 2011 9:50 AM, EDT

U.S. Trade Deficit Narrows 13.1%

Larry Smith/Trans Pixs

The U.S. trade deficit narrowed 13.1% in July to $44.8 billion, a three-month low, as exports rose and oil imports declined, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

The gap shrank from a revised $51.6 billion in June, which was lower than originally reported.

The shortfall narrowed more than economists’ forecasts, Bloomberg reported.

Exports climbed 3.6% to $178 billion as sales of telecommunications equipment, aircraft, autos and industrial engines increased. U.S. shipments of capital goods and autos and parts reached record highs, Bloomberg said.

Imports dipped 0.2% to $222.8 billion, Bloomberg reported. U.S. companies imported 350,657 barrels of crude oil in July, the lowest since April, Bloomberg said.

July imports included $22.3 billion in auto parts shipments, the highest since February 2008, Bloomberg said.