WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The US trade deficit widened strongly in November as goods imports hit record highs, suggesting trade likely continued to weigh on economic growth in the fourth quarter.
The Commerce Department said Thursday that the trade deficit widened 19.4% to $80.2 billion in November. Economists consulted by Reuters projected a negative balance of 77.1 billion.
Goods imports rose 5.1% to a record high of $254.9 billion as port congestion eased. Total imports, including services, increased 4.6% to $304.4 billion.
On the other hand, exports of goods declined 1.8% to $155.9 billion. Overall exports rose 0.2% to $224.2 billion in November.
The trade deficit has hit GDP growth for five consecutive quarters. Economic expansion is projected to reach 7.4% at an annualized rate in the fourth quarter. Growth was 2.3% in the third quarter.
(Reportagem di Lucia Muticani)