U.S. Trade Gap Widens Beyond Forecast to $47.8 Billion in November

The gap was wider than forecast

In somewhat disappointing economic news, the U.S. recorded a $47.8 billion trading deficit in November.  This was the widest gap since June of 2011.

The decline from October, when the deficit was $43.3 billion incorporates lower imports, but also a decline in exports.

In November, there were total exports of $177.8 billion and imports of $225.6 billion.

The goods deficit increased $4.6 billion from October to $63.2 billion in November, and the services surplus- the usual bright spot in the deficits picture-  decreased $1.5 billion to $126.6 billion.

The larger-than-expected deficits number is disappointing just as hopes were rising that the U.S. economy is strengthening.

The U.S. import bill was driven by demand for higher-priced crude oil at the same time American companies tempered orders for consumer goods on concern household spending will cool early this year. Exports from the U.S. declined to a four-month low, depressed by a drop in shipments to Europe.

Domestic demand is a bit stronger than external demand as global growth weakens,” said Jeremy Lawson, a senior U.S. economist at BNP Paribas in New York. “The question is whether U.S. consumption can be maintained in the first part of the year post-Christmas. There are a lot of headwinds.”