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December 9, 2011 9:00 AM, EST

U.S. Trade Deficit Narrows in October

The U.S. trade deficit narrowed by 1.6% in October, shrinking to its lowest level of the year, the Commerce Department said Friday.

The gap between imports and exports declined to $43.5 billion, from a revised $44.2 billion in September that was higher than originally reported, Commerce figures showed.

Economists had projected the deficit would widen to $43.9 billion from the previously estimated $43.1 billion in September, Bloomberg reported.

Exports decreased 2.2% to $179.2 billion as gold shipments dropped. Sales of capital goods and petroleum products rose to record levels, Bloomberg said.

Imports declined 1% to $222.6 billion, the lowest since April, as demand for oil dropped to $26 billion from $28.3 billion, Bloomberg said.