A fall in imports left the US with a smaller trade deficit in August. MarketWatch reports:
The U.S. trade gap unexpectedly narrowed in August to $30.7 billion on a big drop in imports of crude oil, the Commerce Department reported Friday...
Imports fell by $913 million, or 0.6%, to $158.9 billion in August, as imports of crude oil fell by $1.28 billion. Read the full report.
Exports rose by $228 million, or 0.2%, to $128.2 billion, the highest since December. Exports were led by autos, metals and soybeans. Exports of capital goods fell to the lowest level in four years, as shipments of civilian aircraft dropped by $1.3 billion.
While the US managed to increase exports, German exports unexpectedly fell in August. Bloomberg reports:
German exports unexpectedly fell for the first time in four months in August, a sign that the recovery of Europe’s largest economy remains “fragile” even as global demand picks up.
Sales abroad, adjusted for working days and seasonal swings, slid 1.8 percent from July, when they climbed a revised 1.7 percent, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said today. Economists expected a gain of 1.9 percent, the median of 12 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey showed. Exports were down 20 percent from a year earlier.
Japanese businesses are probably also concerned about the country's recovery. Again from Bloomberg:
Japanese machinery orders rose less than estimated in August, barely rebounding from a record low as depressed capital spending by companies inhibits the economy’s recovery from its worst postwar recession.
Orders, an indicator of business investment in three to six months, climbed 0.5 percent from July, when they fell 9.3 percent, the Cabinet Office said today in Tokyo. Bookings in July dropped to the lowest level since the government began the survey in 1987. Economists forecast a 2.1 percent gain.