The U.S. trade gap narrowed further in November, helped by a surge in the export of aircraft and auto parts and a drop in the price of oil.
The Department of Commerce said Wednesday that the trade deficit fell to $58.2 billion, $600 million less than in October and the third straight monthly decline.
November exports were up $1.1 billion over October, while imports increased by $500 million. The government said the goods deficit decreased by $300 million and the services surplus increased by $200 million.
The October to November change in exports of goods reflected increases in capital goods, automotive vehicles, parts, and engines; other goods; and consumer goods. Decreases occurred in industrial supplies and materials and foods, feeds, and beverages.
The October to November change in imports of goods reflected increases in consumer goods; capital goods; and automotive vehicles, parts, and engines. Decreases occurred in industrial supplies and materials; foods, feeds, and beverages; and other goods.The average price of a barrel of oil dropped to its lowest level since the begiining of 2006, by $3.22 to $52.25.
The U.S. deficit with China fell in November, but the gap with China in 2006 climbed to an all-time high of $213.5 billion, beating out the 2005 full-year total of $202 billion.
Separately, Chinese news agencies said that country's 2006 global trade surplus rocketed up 75 percent, to $178 billion. Steel exports grew by 110 percent.
The jump in China's surplus is likely to heat up the political rhetoric surrounding trade barriers and currency manipulation. Earlier this week, Democrats announced they will hold a one-day summit later this year to address the "manufacturing crisis." Among the topics of discussion will be perceived unfair trade practices by other countries.