Another Record Trade Gap

The deficit in 2005 was the largest on record.
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The wider-than-expected U.S. trade deficit in December ensured that 2005 witnessed the largest gap for a single year in the nation's history.

The deficit grew to $65.7 billion in December, the third-biggest monthly deficit on record, from $64.7 billion in November 2005. Economists were expecting the deficit to be unchanged month over month, according to a

Dow Jones Newswires

survey, which pegged the consensus target at $64.7 billion.

December's imports totaled $177.2 billion, while exports were $111.5 billion. Both were the highest on record.

For all of 2005, imports for U.S. businesses, at $2 trillion, exceeded exports by $725.8 billion and topped the old annual record by a wide margin. The previous year's deficit of $617.6 billion had been the high-water mark. The full-year deficit was the fourth year in a row that a new record was set.

China alone was responsible for one-fourth of the overall deficit last year. Record deficits were set with that nation and with Japan, Europe and Canada, among others.