U.S. Trade Deficit Widened in November as Domestic Demand Recovered

The U.S. trade deficit widened in November to $47.8 billion as an increase in imports weighed on economic growth, Commerce Department data showed on Friday.

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Imports rose 1.3 percent in November, the biggest increase since May, to $225.6 billion as Americans spent more on foreign oil and bought more industrial supplies from overseas.

The volume of oil imports rose as the average price for imported oil climbed to $102.50 per barrel, up 3.7 percent from October. Imports of capital goods climbed to a record high. At the same time, exports fell 0.9 percent to $177.88 billion.

A wider trade deficit subtracts from gross domestic product. While higher imports are a sign of increased consumer demand within the country, the drop in exports reflects a cooling global economy.

Still, today’s report did contain a hint of improvement in the politically charged trade imbalance between the U.S. and China. The U.S. trade deficit with China narrowed to $26.9 billion in November as American exports to China rose to $9.9 billion, the highest since December 2010, while imports fell.

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