Summary Box: Trade deficit at lowest this year

TRADE DEFICIT SHRINKS: The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in October to $43.5 billion, the lowest point of the year. It was the fourth straight monthly decline.

EXPORTS, IMPORTS FALL: Overall imports fell 1 percent to $222.6 billion, which largely reflected a drop in oil imports. Exports slipped 0.8 percent to $179.2 billion, the first decline after three months of gains.

GOOD SIGN: A smaller trade deficit added to growth in the summer and may do so again in the final three months of the year. But economists worry the trend could reverse next year, especially if Europe's debt crisis worsens.