U.S. trade deficit narrows sharply; exports at record high

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FILE PHOTO: Shipping containers are unloaded from a ship at a container terminal at the Port of Long Beach-Port of Los Angeles complex

WASHINGTON – The U.S. trade deficit narrowed sharply in June as exports surged to a record high, a trend that could see trade continuing to contribute to gross domestic product in the third quarter.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday that the trade deficit decreased 6.2% to $79.6 billion. Exports of goods and services shot up 1.7% to an all-time high of $260.8 billion, while imports slipped 0.3% to $340.4 billion.

Trade was the economy’s only bright spot in the second quarter, adding 1.43 percentage points to gross domestic product after being a drag for seven straight quarters. The economy contracted at a 0.9% annualized rate in the April-June quarter.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Bill Rigby)