Capping a year that saw a massive drop in the trade gap, the December trade deficit widened sharply $40.2 billion, the Commerce Department said on Feb. 10.
Total exports of goods and services was $142.7 billion, while imports hit $182.9 billion in the last month of 2009.
The deficit in international trade of goods and services mushroomed to $40.2 billion, up about 10% from a revised $36.39 billion in November.
It was the third consecutive rise in the trade gap and the biggest deficit all year.
For the full year, the U.S. trade imbalance with the rest of the world improved impressively. The 2009 trade gap fell 45% from a year earlier to $380.7 billion, representing 2.9% of gross domestic product, a broad measure of the country's goods and services output.
In 2008 the trade gap amounted to 4.8% of GDP.
In December, U.S. exports rose $4.6 billion from the prior month, while imports were up $8.4 billion.
The goods deficit led the widening of the trade deficit, rising $3.4 billion from November to $51.8 billion. The services surplus slipped $0.4 billion to $11.7 billion.
Exports of goods rose to $99.1 billion, an increase of $4.6 billion from November. Goods imports climbed a hefty $8.1 billion to $150.9 billion.
Exports of services were "virtually unchanged" at $43.6 billion, and imports of services increased $0.3 billion to $31.9 billion.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010