The U.S. merchandise trade deficit narrowed to its lowest level since September 1983 in February, shrinking $1.8 billion to $5.33 billion from a revised and seasonally adjusted $7.16 billion in January, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

The $1.8 billion drop in February brought the trade deficit to its lowest level since September 1983, when the deficit was $5.2 billion, the government said.The February trade deficit was also $1.8 billion less than the February 1990 level.

Exports in February totaled $33.5 billion while imports were $38.8 billion, resulting in a deficit of $5.3 billion and $1.8 billion less than the revised January deficit of $7.16 billion, the Commerce Department said. Last month, the department originally reported a seasonally adjusted January trade deficit of $6.995 billion.

Imports in February were $2.6 billion less than January's level of $41.5 billion, the department said.

Based on figures for the first two months of the year, the annualized 1991 trade deficit was $75 billion for the year - about 25 percent less than the 1990 trade deficit.