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U.S. trade gap grew in December to $48.8 bln *PIC*

U.S. trade gap grew in December to $48.8 bln (by Greg Robb)

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- The U.S. trade deficit widened by 3.7% in December to $48.8 billion, the highest level in six months, the Commerce Department said Friday. The trade deficit was slightly above the consensus forecast of Wall Street economists of a deficit of $48.5 billion. Imports rose faster than exports in December. The U.S. trade deficit with China widened to $23.1 billion in compared with $20.7 billion in the same month last year. The government also revised the deficit in November to $47.1 billion from $47.8 billion. For the full year, the trade gap widened 11.6% to $558 billion from $500.0 billion in 2010. Exports of goods and services grew 14.5% to a record $2.1 trillion while imports advanced 13.8% to a record $2.7 trillion.