The U.S. trade deficit in goods and services fell 13.1 percent in July to $44.8 billion, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

Record exports and falling global oil prices were credited for the largest monthly decline in the trade deficit since February 2009, which came despite a surge in the bilateral U.S. deficit with China to its highest level in 10 months.

The value of U.S. exports climbed 3.62 percent in July to $178 billion, while imports were down 0.2 percent to $222.84 billion.

Despite July's improvement, the cumulative U.S. trade deficit for the first seven months of the year was $329.77 billion, 13.1 percent higher than the $291.73 billion figure for the same period in 2010.

The July reduction in the trade deficit was bigger than most analysts expected.