The numbers: The U.S. trade deficit in goods widened 8.8% to $90.3 billion in December, according to the Commerce Department’s advanced estimate released Thursday.
Economists polled by Econoday were looking for the deficit to widen to an $88.5 billion deficit.
The advanced trade data is expressed in nominal terms, meaning it is not adjusted for inflation.
The widening in the trade gap only partly reverses a plunge in November.
Key details: Imports of goods rose to $257.1 billion in December led by autos and consumer goods.
Exports fell to $166.8 billion on declines in industrial supplies and consumer goods.
The report also showed a 0.1% gain in wholesale inventories. And advanced retail inventories were up 0.5%. Excluding autos, retail inventories were also up 0.1%.
Big picture: The government estimated that the trade sector made a modest 0.6 percentage point contribution to fourth quarter growth after a sharp gain of 2.9 percentage points in the prior quarter.
Market reaction: Stocks
were set to open higher on Thursday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note
rose to 3.48%.