Trade Deficit Unexpectedly Widens - TheStreet

Trade Deficit Unexpectedly Widens

The U.S. trade deficit widened unexpectedly in December, as a jump in imports boosted by upticks in oil and autos outpaced a smaller rise in exports.
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WASHINGTON (

TheStreet

) -- The U.S. trade deficit widened unexpectedly in December, as a jump in imports boosted by upticks in oil and autos outpaced a smaller rise in exports.

The trade gap grew to $40.2 billion after registering $36.4 billion in November, according to a Wednesday Commerce Department release. Consensus forecasts provided by Briefing.com showed analysts expected the deficit to narrow to $35.8 billion

Exports increased by $4.6 billion to $142.7 billion in December, reflecting a rise in capital goods and industrial supplies and materials. Imports rose by another $8.4 billion to reach $182.9 billion.

The report noted the trade deficit with China, the largest deficit among the U.S.'s international partners, shrunk to $18.1 billion in December after hitting $20.2 billion in the prior month. China exports rose to a record $8.4 billion during the month.

The department also said the deficit shrank in 2009 to $380.7 billion, down from a deficit of $695.9 billion for 2008.

-- Written by Sung Moss in New York