NEW YORK: The US trade deficit unexpectedly grew in November, a drag on economic growth, although the gap's widening was driven by a surge in consumer goods imports, which gives a positive signal for consumer spending.
The Commerce Department said on Friday the trade gap increased 16 percent in November to $48.7 billion.
Analysts were expecting the deficit to shrink to $41.3 billion, so the report could lead some economists to trim their forecasts for economic growth in the fourth quarter.
Net imports suck cash out of the economy, subtracting from gross domestic product.
The trade deficit was the widest since April, and its expansion was driven by a 3.8 percent increase in imports, the largest gain in eight months.