U.S. Trade Deficit Widened Unexpectedly to $36.4 billion in November
Trade Deficit Down Substantially From a Year Ago
For the first 11 months of 2009, the trade deficit totalled $340.6 billion, down substantially from the $654.1 billion total for the same period in 2008.
In November, oil imports increased to $17.8 billion from $17.4 billion in October, with the average price of a barrel of crude rising to $72.54 from $67.39.
The nation incurred trade deficits in November with a number of key trading partners: China, $20.2 billion, down from $22.7 billion in October; European Union, $6.4 billion, up from $4.9 billion; OPEC, $6.1 billion, up from $5.8 billion; Japan, $5.4 billion, up from $4.4 billion; Mexico, $5.1 billion, up from $4.6 billion; Nigeria, $2.1 billion, up from $1.4 billion; Venezuela, $1.6 billion, down from $1.7 billion; Canada, $1.4 billion, down from $2.1 billion; Taiwan, $900 million, up from $700 million; and S. Korea, $700 million, up from $500 million.
The U.S. registered trade surpluses in November with: Hong Kong, $1.4 billion, down from $1.6 billion in October; Australia, $1.0 billion, down from $1.3 billion; Singapore, $700 million, down from $900 million; and Egypt, $200 million, down from $400 million.
Economists consider it healthier for a nation to operate with a trade surplus as opposed to a trade deficit, as it usually implies that a nation's goods are competitive on the world stage, its citizens are not consuming too much, and that it's amassing capital for future investment and economic goals.
In general, a tepid November trade deficit report. On the upside, exports continued to rise, aided by the weak dollar. However, the rise in the average price of imported oil led to a larger-than-expected trade deficit: The U.S. used less oil in November, but the $5 per barrel increase led to a higher overall imported oil bill. That high crude oil price offset import declines in industrial supplies and materials, capital goods, and foods and feeds.