US trade deficit widens and factory orders rise

File Reuters

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — The US goods trade deficit widened sharply in December as exports came under pressure from slowing world demand and the dollar’s rise, a sign that economic growth slowed in the fourth quarter.

Data from the Commerce Department showed on Wednesday that orders for manufactured goods in the United States rose barely in December and that companies’ spending on equipment was much weaker than previously thought, indicating a decline in manufacturing activity.

The commodity trade deficit jumped 12.8 percent to 79.5 billion dollars in December, boosted by an increase in imports.

Exports fell 2.8 percent as shipments of food, industrial supplies and capital goods fell sharply. Imports rose 2.4 percent led by food, capital goods and consumer goods.

In another report on Wednesday, the Commerce Department said orders for factory goods rose 0.1 percent in December as demand for machinery, equipment, appliances and components fell.

The November data were revised slightly to show factory orders fall 0.5 percent from 0.6 percent in the previous reading.

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