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US cuts trade deficit

August 4, 2017

President Trump struck a chord with his core supporters when he aimed to shorten the US trade deficits with the world's powers. After a tough week, Trump was boosted by good news on the economic front.

Charleston container port
Image: Picture alliance/R. Cummins/robertharding

The US trade deficit shortened in June and gave a mini-boost to the country's economic output as exports hit the highest level in two-and-a-half years, fresh official figures showed Friday.

It meant a much-welcomed boost for Donald Trump's administration amid a myriad of problems at the White House in recent weeks.

There was similarly positive news on yet another front front as the US unemployment rate fell slightly to 4.3 percent, the lowest in 16 years.

Read more: Trump to attack foreign trade cheats

Read more: Trump wants new NAFTA deal to cut trade deficit

Since taking office in January,, Trump has vowed to narrow the United States' trade deficit and confront countries such as Germany and China over poor trade agreements.

But despite the trade deficit narrowing by 5.9 percent to $43.6 billion (36.8 billion euros), the country is still on track to post a bigger gap in 2017 than 12 months prior.

Exports of goods and services rose 1.2 percent to $194.4 billion, while services exports reached a record $65.4 billion and overall imports slipped 0.2 percent to $238 billion.

More jobs

Meanwhile, US employers added 209,000 net new positions for July, higher than previous estimates according to the Labor Department.

President Trump took to Twitter to praise the "excellent jobs numbers" released on Friday.

Strong job creation took place in the hospitality and health care sectors, which brought the unemployment rate down to the same figure as May (4.3 percent). But despite President Trump's best efforts, the job market in construction, manufacturing, transportation and the mining sector was flat for last month.

rd/hg (AFP, dpa)