Economic Report: U.S. trade deficit narrows 12.2% in February to $39.9 billion

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The numbers: The nation’s trade deficit narrowed a sharp 12.2% in February as the coronavirus hit China’s economy and oil prices dropped. The trade gap narrowed to $39.9 billion from an upwardly revised $45.5 billion in January, according to seasonally adjusted numbers released Thursday by the Commerce Department. The narrowing of the deficit was in line with economists surveyed by MarketWatch.

What happened: Exports slipped by 0.4% to $207.5 billion. Imports fell 2.5% to $247.5 billion.

Big picture: Trade activity was on a lower trend even before the supply-chain disruptions from the coronavirus. The collapse in oil prices also played a rule in the month, economists said. This year is shaping up to be the works for trade activity on record.

Market reaction: Stock-index futures YM00, +0.43%   pointed to a bounce on Wall Street Thursday.

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