The trade deficit between the U.S. and its global partners dropped sharply in January to $51.15 billion as exports rebounded from a slowdown at the end of 2018, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had forecast that the balance fell to $57 billion in January, from the $59.9 billion recorded the previous month.
The decline of 14.6 percent represented the sharpest drop since March 2018 and comes amid continued efforts by the Trump administration to level the playing field with China and other global partners.
Exports rose to $207.3 billion, a $1.9 billion increase from December, while imports fell to $258.5 billion, off $6.8 billion. The goods deficit dropped 10 percent to $73.3 billion while the services surplus edged higher to $22.1 billion.
China specifically represented a good chunk of the reduction in the trade balance shortfall, as the deficit decreased $5.5 billion to $33.2 billion as imports fell 12.2 percent to $40.8 billion. The two nations have been involved in a tit-for-tat tariff battle as officials try to work out a long-range framework that opens up markets for U.S. goods.