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

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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