Gov't reports U.S. trade deficit grew in November

Shipping containers stacked at the Port of Miami, July 8, 2010. The U.S. trade deficit widened in May to the highest level in 18 months as a rebounding economy pushed up demand for imports of foreign-made cars, computers and clothing.
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. trade deficit widened in November for the first time in five months. Exports fell for a second straight month while imports rose to an all-time high, driven by rising demand for oil and foreign-made cars.

The Commerce Department says the deficit increased 10.4 percent to $47.8 billion, the highest level since June.

Exports, which had hit a record high in September, dropped 0.9 percent in November to $177.8 billion. Fewer shipments of autos and capital goods, such as aircraft and machinery, were the key reason.

Imports rose 1.3 percent to a record $225.6 billion.

A decline in exports weakens U.S. growth, and they could drop further. Europe's debt problems will likely slow demand for American-made goods. Europe purchases one-fifth of U.S. exports.