Data released by the Commerce Department showed that rising exports and falling imports shrank the United States’ trade deficit in goods and services to the lowest level in nearly a year.
The trade deficit — the gap between what the United States imports and what it exports — narrowed to $42.4 billion in August, down $1.2 billion from July. Exports for the month were $195.3 billion, while imports came to $237.7 billion. The nation’s trade deficits with China and the European Union both shrank in August.
Josh Feinman, the chief economist of Deutsche Asset Management, said those trends were largely the result of a strengthening global economy that buoyed American exports, as well as the weakening of the value of the dollar.
“Global growth is looking better,” Mr. Feinman said. “That does create a little bit of a tailwind for exports.” He cautioned that the economic impact of Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall in Texas on Aug. 25, could be distorting the data somewhat, as ports closed and people stayed home from work and shops.
Despite the narrowing in August, the overall trade deficit is still growing on an annual basis. It was up 8.8 percent in the first eight months from the same period in 2016, according to Commerce Department data.