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US trade gap narrows to lowest level in 5 months

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. trade deficit fell in June to its lowest level since January as imports dropped sharply, led by lower shipments of cellphones, petroleum, and cars.

The Commerce Department says the trade deficit fell 7 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted $41.5 billion, from $44.7 billion in May.

Exports rose 0.1 percent to $195.9 billion, a record high. Imports fell 1.2 percent, the most in a year, to $237.4 billion.

Imports of petroleum products fell, cutting the trade deficit in petroleum to its lowest in four years.

The unexpected decline suggests that growth may have been stronger in the second quarter than the government initially estimated. A lower trade deficit can boost economic growth when it shows Americans are buying more U.S. products and fewer overseas goods.

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