WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. trade deficit narrowed for a second month in March as the daily flow of imported crude oil dropped to the lowest level in 17 years. The deficit with China hit a three-year low.
The Commerce Department says the trade deficit decreased to $38.8 billion, an 11 percent drop from February's $43.6 billion.
Exports fell 0.9 percent to $184.3 billion as sales of machinery, autos and farm products all declined. Imports fell 2.8 percent to $223.1 billion, led by a 4.4 percent drop in foreign petroleum. Crude oil imports averaged just 7 million barrels per day, the lowest since March 1996.
A smaller trade gap can boost overall economic growth as American companies earn more from overseas sales while U.S. consumers and businesses spend less on foreign products.