The US trade deficit decreased by 6.9% in December, according to a report released by the Commerce Department today. It fell to $58.8 billion, the largest monthly drop in the deficit since October 2006. Economists expected a number closer to $61.6 billion.
Exports rose 1.5%, to a record high of $144.3 billion for the month of December. Imports, on the other hand, decreased $2.2 billion, or 1.1%, to $203.1 billion. Imports dropped for the first time in 4 months, suggesting a slowdown in consumption.
For the year, the US trade deficit fell by 6.2%, to $711.6 billion, from a record $758.5 billion in 2006. We haven't seen a decline in the trade deficit since 2001.
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