WASHINGTON – The trade deficit plunged to the lowest level in five years in November as a deepening recession slashed demand for oil by a record amount. Imports from China also fell by the largest amount on record.
The Commerce Department says the trade deficit narrowed to $40.4 billion in November, a 28.7 percent decline from October's deficit of $56.7 billion. The bigger-than-expected decrease left the deficit at its lowest level since November 2003.
The trade deficit through November is running at an annual rate of $688.2 billion, down from the 2007 imbalance of $700.3 billion. The 2007 deficit had represented the first decline after five years of record highs.
Economists expect the trade deficit will fall even more sharply this year as the recession further cuts demand for imported products.