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How the Booming Oil Patch Helps U.S. Trade

Drilling for oil near Watford City, N.D.
Drilling for oil near Watford City, N.D.Photograph by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Want to know how the U.S. managed to narrow its trade deficit to the smallest figure in four years? Look no further than Texas, North Dakota, and other states where oil production is booming.

The U.S. Commerce Department released data today showing that the trade deficit in November was the narrowest since October 2009. “The shale revolution and increased energy efficiency have pushed the U.S. a long ways towards energy independence in recent years,” Morgan Stanley economist Ted Wieseman wrote in a bulletin to clients. He noted that as recently as 2006, the inflation-adjusted deficit in oil trade was $266 billion. In 2013, through November, it was on track to shrink to $107 billion.