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US trade deficit falls 5.6 percent to $44.4 billion as exports hit record high and imports dip

The U.S. trade deficit fell in May as U.S. exports hit an all-time high, helped by a jump in exports of petroleum products. Imports dipped slightly.

The Commerce Department says the trade deficit narrowed 5.6 percent in May to $44.4 billion after hitting a two-year high of $47 billion in April.

Exports of goods and services rose 1 percent to a record $195.5 billion in May while imports fell a slight 0.3 percent to $239.8 billion.

A lower trade deficit boosts overall economic growth when it shows U.S. companies are earning more in their overseas sales. Economists are looking for a smaller trade deficit in the April-June quarter to help propel output back to positive growth after the economy shrank in the first quarter at a 2.9 percent rate.

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