WASHINGTON -- The Small Business Administration said it guaranteed about 500 loans, worth more than $174 million, to U.S. exporters in the first 10 months of the current fiscal year.

The loan total is already 36% greater than the total for all of fiscal 1991, and volume is up 42%. SBA Administrator Patricia Saiki said the numbers reflect a surge in U.S. firms' interest in overseas marketing, which will help lessen the trade imbalance.

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