U.S. trade deficit widens to $48.8 billion in December
Washington • Monthly U.S. exports to Europe grew in December, a hopeful sign after a steep decline the previous month. But, some economists remain concerned that the region's debt crisis will still weigh on the U.S. economy this year.
The Commerce Department said Friday that the overall trade deficit widened to $48.8 billion in December because imports grew at a faster pace than exports. It was the largest imbalance since June.
Imports rose 1.3 percent, largely because the U.S. bought more foreign autos, auto parts and industrial machinery.
Exports increased 0.7 percent. And exports to Europe rose 7.2 percent. That followed November's decline of more than 6 percent.
Still, exports to the 17 nations that use the euro grew just 1.7 percent in December from November. And exports to the euro zone fell 1.6 percent in December from the same month in 2010. ...