New figures show the United States trade deficit unexpectedly widened in November.
The gap blew out to 16% to $US48.7 billion, the widest since last April, as imports hit record highs, the BBC reports.
Imports increased by 3.8%, the largest rise in eight months, to $US231.3 billion. The value of exports increased by 1% to $US182.6 billion.
Imports of consumer goods rose by $US4.6 billion. Analysts say this is a sign that the US retail sector is growing stronger, with rising consumer spending.