WASHINGTON — An combination of rising oil prices and fewer aircraft deliveries drove the U.S. November trade balance out to a much wider than expected $63.1 billion deficit from a $57.8 billion deficit in October.

Imports surged $6.0 billion on the back of a $4.8 billion jump in oil and related products and a $800 million advance in consumer goods, mainly in the artwork and “other” categories.

Exports were up $600 million as autos advanced $500 million and oil and related products were up $1 billion. Exports of civilian aircraft fell $1 billion in an offset, even though Boeing Co.’s order book should assure large deliveries into the next decade.

The unadjusted imported crude price had its biggest jump ever of $7.16, or almost 10%, to a record $79.65 a barrel on average. Volume fell slightly, as one would expect in the face of rising costs. So the November trade number was almost entirely an oil price effect. The Commerce Department’s tally for imported petroleum was a record $34.4 billion.

Oil prices partly reversed in December but then marched higher again in January.


— Market News International

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