The U.S. trade deficit in November rose to the highest level in nine months as imports of oil and other foreign goods increased, while American exports fell for a second month.
The trade deficit jumped 6.8 percent to $45.2 billion, the largest imbalance since February, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Exports edged down 0.2 percent to $122.4 billion, reflecting lower overseas sales of American-made airplanes, autos and farm products. Imports rose 1.1 percent to $231.1 billion, led by a 7.6 percent jump in oil.
The trade deficit is the difference between exports and imports.
In November, imports rose to the highest level since June 2015, and economists predicted further increases as the U.S. economy picks up momentum.
For November, America’s deficit with China narrowed slightly, to $30.5 billion. For the first 11 months of 2016, the deficit with China totaled $319.3 billion, 5.9 percent lower than the same period in 2015 but still the largest imbalance with any single country. The deficit with Mexico dropped 6.5 percent in November to $5.8 billion and totaled $58.8 billion through the first 11 months of 2016, up 4.9 percent from 2015.
The rise in imports reflected a 7.6 percent jump in petroleum imports, which rose to $14.3 billion.
The deficit with the European Union rose 12.4 percent in November to $14.8 billion.