In December, the U.S. trade deficit worsened due to a jump in imports outpacing a rise in exports. The trade gap expanded to $48.8 billion from $47.1 billion in November (originally $47.8 billion). Market expectations were for a gap of $47.8 billion. Exports rebounded 0.7 percent after declining 1.0 percent in November. Imports advanced 1.3 percent in December, following a 1.0 percent gain the prior month.
The worsening in the trade gap was led by the nonpetroleum goods deficit widened to $36.5 billion from $34.1 billion the month before. The petroleum gap narrowed to $26.9 billion from $27.6 billion in November. The services surplus was essentially unchanged at $15.5 billion.
The rise in imports was led by capital goods excluding autos with consumer goods a close second. Apparently, businesses are a little more optimistic about boosting investment and also are planning on gains in consumer spending.
On a not seasonally adjusted basis, the December figures show surpluses, in billions of dollars, in part with Hong Kong $2.5 ($3.2 for November), Australia $1.7 ($1.5), and Singapore $1.3 ($1.0). Deficits were recorded in part, in billions of dollars, with China $23.1 ($26.9), European Union $9.6 ($9.7), OPEC $9.1 ($9.1), Japan $6.5 ($6.2), Mexico $4.9 ($5.5), Germany $4.8 ($4.7), and Canada $3.9 ($3.0).
Today's report was a little worse than expected and there was little market reaction in equity futures. But futures were down sharply on news that European officials rejected Greece's latest austerity plan which was believed to be a final deal yesterday.