The U.S. trade deficit fell in July to its lowest level since January, as exports of autos, telecom equipment, industrial machines and semiconductors rose.

The Commerce Department says the trade deficit fell 0.6 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted $40.5 billion, from $40.8 billion in June.

Exports climbed 0.9 percent to a record $198 billion. Imports also rose, climbing 0.7 percent to $238.6 billion, as shipments of food, beverages and autos from abroad increased.

Imports of oil products increased, but rising domestic production reduced the trade deficit in petroleum to its lowest in more than five years.

The trade deficit with China rose to a monthly record of $30.9 billion.

But rising imports and exports point to the possibility of stronger economic growth in the second half of 2014.