The fourth straight rise in exports was an encouraging sign that the global economy has started to recover from a severe recession that began in the United States and quickly spread to other parts of the world. But many economists expect the deficit to rise in coming months on the back of a rebounding U.S. economy, which will start importing more foreign products.

The Commerce Department said Friday that the trade deficit declined 3.5 percent to $30.7 billion, surprising economists who had expected higher oil prices to push the imbalance to $33 billion. Oil prices did shoot up, but the volume of shipments dropped sharply in August.

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Iconic Hummer brand sold to Chinese manufacturer

DETROIT (AP) ¿ Hummer, the off-road vehicle that once epitomized America's love for hulking trucks, is now in the hands of a Chinese heavy equipment maker.

General Motors Co. and Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Corp. finally signed the much-anticipated deal for GM to sell the brand on Friday.

Tengzhong will get an 80 percent stake in the company, while Hong Kong investor Suolang Duoji, who indirectly owns a big stake in Tengzhong through an investment company, will get 20 percent. The investors will also get Hummer's nationwide dealer network.

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