US trade gap hit $48.7 billion in November
BY Associated Press
Saturday, January 12, 2013
1/12/13 at 4:03 AM
WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. trade deficit expanded in November to its widest point in seven months, driven by a surge in imports that outpaced only modest growth in exports.
The Commerce Department said Friday that the trade gap widened 15.8 percent to $48.7 billion in November from October.
Imports grew 3.8 percent to $231.3 billion, led by gains in shipments of cell phones, including Apple's new iPhone.
Exports increased 1 percent to $182.6 billion. And exports to Europe fell 1.3 percent, further evidence of the prolonged debt crisis that has gripped the region.
A wider trade deficit acts as a drag on U.S. growth. It typically means the U.S. is earning less on overseas sales while spending more on foreign products.
Faster growth in exports helped the U.S. economy grow from July through September at an annual rate of 3.1 percent. Most economists say growth has slowed in the October-December quarter to an annual rate of less than 2 percent, in part because of weaker exports.
Through the first 11 months of 2012, the trade deficit is running at an annual rate of $546.6 billion
Original Print Headline: U.S. trade gap widens 15 percent to $48 billion as imports surge