The surplus rose to $23.99 billion, nearly double the level in September. Exports slid 13.8 percent, less than the previous month’s 15.2 percent decline.
The trade surplus was this year’s biggest excluding seasonal distortions in January and February. It was $12.93 billion in September.
Imports fell 6.4 percent in October from a year earlier, more than the 3.5 percent slide in September. Economists forecast a 1 percent decline.
Seasonally adjusted, exports fell 9.1 percent last month from a year earlier, while imports rose 7.3 percent, the customs bureau said.