November trade defict hits $47.8 billion

WASHINGTON (AP) ? The U.S. trade deficit widened in November for the first time in five months. Exports fell for a second straight month while imports rose to an all-time high, driven by rising demand for oil and foreign-made cars.

The Commerce Department says the deficit increased 10.4 percent to $47.8 billion, the highest level since June.

Exports, which had hit a record high in September, dropped 0.9 percent in November to $177.8 billion. Fewer shipments of autos and capital goods, such as aircraft and machinery, were the key reason.

Imports rose 1.3 percent to a record $225.6 billion.

A decline in exports weakens U.S. growth, and they could drop further. Europe’s debt problems will likely slow demand for American-made goods. Europe purchases one-fifth of U.S. exports.