TRADE GAP HIGHER: The U.S. trade deficit grew 15.8 percent in November from October to $48.7 billion, a seven-month high.
EXPORTS AND IMPORTS: The deficit increased because imports rose 3.8 percent, while exports increased just 1 percent. The import gain was led by consumer goods, reflecting strong demand for foreign-made cell phones.
IMPACT: The wider deficit will likely slow economic growth in the October-December quarter because it means Americans spent more on foreign products while U.S. businesses earned less in overseas sales. But the jump in imports shows consumers have maintained their appetite for spending, which could help growth in the coming months.
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