The U.S. trade deficit widened in December as exports fell, the Commerce Department reported Feb 6.
The gap between imports and exports rose 12% to $38.7 billion, up from a four-year low in November.
The trade deficit expanded more than economists’ forecast of $36 billion, Bloomberg News reported.
“There’s still a slight tendency for the deficit to be narrowing,” David Sloan, senior economist at 4Cast Inc., told Bloomberg. “The reduced U.S. dependence on imported energy is quite an important factor.”
For all of 2013, the trade gap narrowed 11.8%t to $471.5 billion, the smallest since 2009.
Exports decreased 1.8% to $191.3 billion, and imports rose 0.3% to $230 billion in December. Foreign demand for U.S. petroleum product rose to a record $13.5 billion in December.