The U.S. trade deficit fell to its lowest level in almost four years in June as domestic oil production helped reduce American's petroleum import bill.
The gap plunged 22.4 percent to $34.2 billion, far below economists' median estimate at $43.5 billion and the smallest deficit since October 2009, according to the Commerce Department in Washington.
Exports rose 2.2 percent or $4.1 billion to $191.2 billion while imports shrank $5.8 billion or 2.5 percent to $225.4 billion.
U.S. refineries imported 234.3 million barrels of crude oil in June, 2.6 percent less than the 240.5 million the previous month. The value of crude imports dropped to $22.7 billion from $23.3 billion in May.
Domestic oil production averaged 7.3 million barrels a day in May according to the Department of Energy, the highest level in over 21 years and has risen an astonishing 42 percent since the beginning of 2009. Imports have fallen from a high of 10.8 million barrels a day in June 2005 to 7.7 million barrels this past May, a 29 percent decline.
Overall American crude oil and liquid fuel consumption has fallen 11.9 percent in just seven years, from a high of 21.67 million barrels a day in August 2005 to 19.07 million barrels in June, according to the Department of Energy.
The surge in exports and decline in overseas purchases of goods and raw materials may add as much as 0.8 percent to second quarter GDP growth initially reported at 1.7 percent annualized.
Chief Market Strategist