Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Record Import Plunge

As all good economists "know," one day our trade gap will have to shrink. But hopefully it shrinks, in part, because exports increase, not because imports plunge and exports fall.

The U.S. trade deficit shrank 28.7 percent in November, the biggest contraction in 12 years, as weak consumer demand and plummeting oil prices caused a record drop in imports, a U.S. Commerce Department report showed Tuesday.

The $40.4 billion trade gap in November was the lowest in five years and much lower than expected. Wall Street analyst had expected the trade gap to narrow to around $51.3 billion, from a downwardly revised $56.7 billion in October.

U.S. imports in November fell a record 12 percent to $183.2 billion, as the global financial crisis scared businesses and consumers into cutting their spending.