The U.S. trade deficit narrowed $2.3 billion to $41.5 billion in September. The ISM services index declined 0.9 points to 54.2 in October. Consumer credit increased $11.4 billion to $2.737 trillion in September. Initial jobless claims fell 8,000 to 355,000 for the week ended 11/2.
• The U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly narrowed $2.3 billion (5.1%) to $41.5 billion in September. This is the lowest level since December 2010. Exports rose 3.1% to a record high of $187 billion while imports rose 1.5% to $228.5 billion. Economists cautioned that the higher exports and lower deficit are not likely to persist amidst low global economic growth (and September was affected by an unusual jump in soybean export prices).
• The ISM services index declined 0.9 points to 54.2 in October.
• Consumer credit increased $11.4 billion (0.4%) to $2.737 trillion in September. Revolving credit (i.e., credit cards) declined 0.34% while non-revolving credit (i.e., auto loans) were up 0.76%.
• Initial jobless claims declined 8,000 to a level of 355,000 for the week ended November 3rd.