Windows drives US export surge

The first week's shipments of Microsoft's Windows 95 software helped to take US exports to a record in August. The dollar jumped against the mark and yen in reaction to figures showing that the trade deficit fell unexpectedly to its lowest since last December.

Higher exports of advanced technology goods, including software and computers, aircraft and cars took the shortfall on trade in goods and services down to $8.8bn, a stunning $2.4bn drop from the previous month's record deficit. Total exports reached their highest level ever, at $65.74bn.

The pleasant surprise sent the dollar from below 100 to 101 and from DM1.41 to nearly DM1.43, although it later retreated slightly.

Economists cautioned that it would be unwise to read too much into one month's figures. Most expect the gap to have widened again in September. Nevertheless, there is general agreement that the trend is favourable, with US exporters reaping the benefits of a weak dollar earlier this year.

''We are finally starting to see some trend improvement in the deficit,'' said Josh Feinman, an economist at Bankers Trust in New York. ''These figures provided the first palpable evidence of it.''

Lewis Alexander, chief economist at the Commerce Department, said: ''There is every reason to be optimistic.''

However, some economists sounded a note of caution about the improvement. Chris Iggo, an economist at Chase Manhattan bank, said: ''The deficit is at a much higher level than last year. It is going to be a long time before we see a substantial reduction.''

The most dramatic rise in exports in August was a $1.1bn jump in shipments of advanced technology goods. Exports of cars and car parts were up $850m, while civilian aircraft exports recovered by $318m from an unusually low level in July.

The politically sensitive bilateral trade deficit with Japan shrank for the fifth month in a row, to $5.12bn, thanks to higher US exports of computers and lower imports of Japanese cars. America's shortfall in trade with Mexico fell to $1.1bn, the lowest since the country's financial crisis broke out in January. The improvement in the US trade position would have become apparent earlier if it had not been disguised by the dive in exports to Mexico after the crisis.

However, the biggest improvement came in trade with Western Europe. The US deficit fell from an unusually high $3.1bn in July to $769m in August.

Shock to system, page 26

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee