U.S. Trade Gap Narrows to 4-Year Low in November

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The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in November, according to data released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis on Tuesday. The trade gap — the difference between total exports and total imports — shrank from -$39.3 billion (revised from -$40.6 billion) to -$34.3 billion, the lowest monthly deficit since October 2009.

Total November exports increased 0.9 percent to a record $194.9 billion, and total imports fell about 1.5 percent to $229.1 billion, yielding a deficit that was narrower than the -$39.9 billion expected by economists. For the three months ended November, the U.S. ran an average trade deficit of -$38.8 billion (average exports of $192.4 billion and average imports of $231.3 billion), down nearly 4 percent from the the average trade deficit of $40.4 billion (average exports of $190.7 billion and average imports of $231.1 billion) recorded for the three months ended October.

As with October’s data, November’s data bode well for fourth-quarter gross domestic product. November exports set a fresh record high, and continued foreign demand for U.S. goods and services — particularly industrial supplies and, increasingly, energy goods — could support manufacturing.

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