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Byline: LAURA MANDARO
The U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly plunged 9% in March to $55 billion, a six-month low, as demand for foreign consumer goods dived.
Economists expected a record $62 billion. Instead, the Commerce Department on Wednesday reported the biggest monthly decline since December 2001.
Imports fell 2.5%, also the worst drop since the end of 2001. Exports rose 1.5%.
Yearly gains for imports and export have halved over the last several months, a sign that the U.S. and the world are cooling off.
After all the hand-wringing over the swelling U.S. deficit, a smaller gap would seem to be good news for the economy -- and …