U.S. Trade Deficit Declines

In part a product of lower petroleum prices, the U.S. international trade deficit for goods and services fell to $64.2 billion in November 2005 from $68.1 billion in October of last year, the U.S. Commerce Department reported on Jan. 12. Economists generally expected a trade deficit of about $66 billion, roughly midway between October's revised figure and November's reported deficit.

The value of manufactured goods and other U.S. exports was $109.3 billion in November, but it was more than offset by $173.5 billion worth of imports. For the first eleven months of 2005, the U.S. trade deficit with the rest of the world was $661.78 billion on a seasonally adjusted basis, $44.2 billion higher than the $617.58 billion deficit for all of 2004.

As it has been for many months, the U.S. trade deficit with China was the largest by far with any other single country in November -- although the deficit of $18.49 billion was $2.03 billion less than October's deficit of $20.52 billion, not seasonally adjusted.

Lower petroleum prices led the U.S. Labor Department's import price index lower in December. The decline was two-tenths of a percent and followed a 1.8% decline in November. On the other side of the trade ledger, the department's export price index increased a tenth of a percent in December, after falling seven-tenths percent in November.

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