The federal budget deficit is running at a pace that is more than double last year's imbalance through the first four months of the budget year, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2008. (CBS/AP)
A record decline in the price of crude oil helped to push the U.S. trade deficit down to the lowest level in nearly a year even though the deficit with China shot up to an all-time high.
The Commerce Department reported Thursday that the trade deficit fell by 4.4 percent to $56.5 billion in September, the smallest imbalance since October 2007.
The better-than-expected improvement reflected a 15.7 percent fall in petroleum imports as the average price for imported crude oil dropped by a record $12.41 per barrel and the volume of shipments fell to the lowest level in more than five years.