US oil futures rise for the first time in seven weeks
Oil production boost sees lower energy imports in the US (Reuters)

The US trade gap narrowed by less than expected in October to $43.4bn (£28m), according to data released by the Commerce Department.

Falling crude oil prices did not offset a jump in imports but an increase in exports suggested the US economy was robust in the face of sliding global demand.

The deficit fell by 0.4% to $43.4bn in October, while September's deficit was revised up to $43.6bn from $43.03bn.

Amid an ongoing domestic energy boom, the US imported less petroleum than in any month since November 2009. Increased self-sufficiency in this area has eased pressure on the country's trade deficit.

The measure looked increasingly favourable for the US as a result of increased exports in October, which reached a total of $197.5bn in October, a 1.2% increase overall.

The increase suggests that demand for US goods and services remains high, despite the slowing global economy.