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U.S. Posts Record Monthly Trade Deficit

In a development that's bound to intensify the debate between free-traders and protectionists, the U.S. posted a seasonally adjusted monthly international goods and services trade deficit of $68.9 billion in October, $2.9 billion higher than September's revised deficit of $66 billion, the U.S. Commerce Department reported on Dec. 14.

U.S. exports of $107.5 billion in October were more than offset by imports valued at $176.4 billion.

For the first 10 months of 2005, the U.S. trade deficit with the rest of the world was $598.3 billion, less than $20 billion away from the $617.6 billion trade deficit the U.S. posted for all of 2004.

The largest single-country trade deficit the U.S. had in October this year was with China, with imports exceeding exports by $16.8 billion. For the first 10 months of 2005, the U.S. trade deficit with China was $131 billion.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Labor Department reported that prices of goods the U.S. imports declined 1.7% in November, following a three-tenths percent increase in October. "Falling petroleum prices led the overall decrease, although non-petroleum prices also declined," the department said. Prices for goods the U.S. exports fell nine-tenths of a percent in November. They had risen seven-tenths percent in October.

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