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Increase in U.S. Imports, Exports Signal Global Pickup

January 14, 2013

The trade deficit unexpectedly widened in November as U.S. imports jumped almost four times more than exports, gains that signal a rebound in global growth.

The gap swelled 15.8 percent to $48.7 billion, the largest since April, Commerce Department data showed today. The shortfall exceeded all projections in a survey of economists. Imports reflected record demand for consumer goods, while U.S. companies benefitted from more overseas sales of equipment such as telecommunications gear.

American retailers stocked up on foreign-made mobile phones and computers heading into the holidays, showing little concern that the budget impasse in Washington would hurt household spending.

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