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Trade Deficit Narrowed in November

Higher exports and lower imports cause the gap to ease.
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The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in November as the dollar value of oil imports eased. The news had little impact on financial markets, with the yield on 10-year Treasuries holding at about 4.4% and stock index futures holding below fair value.

Overseas goods and services purchased exceeded domestic goods and services sold overseas by $64.2 billion in November, compared with a downwardly restated $68.1 billion in October, the Commerce Department said. Economists had expected a deficit of about $66 billion for November.

The narrowing reflected both lower imports and higher exports. Exports totaled $109.3 billion in November compared with $107.4 billion in October. Imports fell to $173.5 billion from $175.5 billion, reflecting a decline in the value of petroleum imports to $24.6 billion from $25.4 billion.

Barrel-for-barrel, petroleum imports were higher in November than in October.

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Another positive was a narrowing in the U.S.'s yawning trade imbalance with China. That deficit fell by 10% to $18.5 billion from $20.5 billion in October.

On the export front, gains in sales of capital equipment, industrial products, consumer goods and autos helped pace the rise.

The lower dollar value of oil imports also helped lower the December import price index by 0.2%. Export prices rose by 0.1%.