U.S. Trade Deficit Narrows

Washington, Rabi’I 26, 1437, Jan 6, 2016, SPA — The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in November as imports of goods fell to their lowest level in almost five years, outpacing a drop in exports to a four-year low, the government reported Wednesday.
The Commerce Department said the November trade deficit fell 5 percent to $42.4 billion. October’s deficit was revised higher to $44.6 billion from the previously reported $43.9 billion.
The smaller November deficit should help fourth-quarter growth, but economists are forecasting higher deficits in the future and that trade will subtract from growth in 2016.
Imports fell 1.7 percent to $224.6 billion in November. Imports of goods fell 2 percent to $183.5 billion, the lowest level since early 2011. Imports of industrial supplies and materials were the weakest since mid-2009. There also were declines in imports of capital and consumer goods, but auto imports rose.
Lower oil prices and increased domestic energy production also helped to lower import costs. The price of petroleum averaged $39.24 a barrel in November, the lowest level since early 2009 and down from $40.12 in October and $82.92 in November 2014.
Exports declined 1.6 percent to $182.2 billion, the smallest monthly total since early 2012. Exports of goods fell 1.1 percent to $122.2 billion, the lowest since mid-2011. Exports of industrial supplies and materials hit their lowest level in five years, while petroleum exports were the weakest since late 2010.
The U.S. dollar gained nearly 10 percent against other major currencies last year, eroding the appeal of U.S.-made goods overseas. Weak global demand also has limited exports.
–SPA
19:32 LOCAL TIME 16:32 GMT