Feb 8 - The U.S. trade deficit narrowed to $38.5 billion in December, suggesting the economy actually grew at the end of last year, instead of contracting. Conway G. Gittens reports.
The Daily Digit is $38.5 billion. The U.S. trade deficit dropped to $38.5 billion in December, its narrowest point in nearly three years, the Commerce Department said on Friday. Reason? A surge in exports and lower imports of oil, mostly. The tapered number surprised analysts polled by Reuters, who expected a deficit of $46 billion. The figure means that the U.S. economy likely expanded slightly at the end of last year, instead of the drop in fourth quarter GDP reported by the government last week.