US trade gap falls 15 percent to $51.1 billion in January

The U.S. trade deficit tumbled nearly 15 percent in January as imports fell and exports rose. Shipments of American goods to China skidded to the lowest level in more than eight years as the world's two biggest economies remained locked in a trade war.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that the gap between what the United States sells and what it buys from other countries dropped by 14.6 percent, to $51.1 billion in January, from $59.9 billion in December. Exports rose 0.9 percent to $207.3 billion, and imports dropped 2.6 percent to $258.5 billion.

The deficit with China narrowed by 6.4 percent to $34.5 billion. Goods exports to China dropped 22.3 percent to $7.1 billion, lowest since September 2010; Chinese imports dropped 9.6 percent to $41.6 billion.