U.S. December trade deficit widens to $40.2 billion

By: Rex Nutting, Marketwatch.com

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The U.S. trade deficit widened to $40.2 billion in December, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch were looking for the gap to widen to $37.7 billion. Imports increased $8.4 billion to $189.2 billion, led by higher imports of petroleum, autos, and capital goods. Exports rose $4.6 billion to $142.7 billion, led by higher exports of capital goods and industrial materials. For all of 2009, the deficit shrank to $380.7 billion, $315.3 billion less than the 2008 deficit of $695.9 bilion.

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