WASHINGTON — The U.S. trade deficit hit $13.68 billion in November, the third-largest imbalance on record, as a big rise in oil imports swamped a modest gain in exports, the government reported today.
The Commerce Department said the trade deficit soared 19.5% above the October figure of $11.45 billion.
For the year, the difference between what America imports and what it sells abroad totals $131.8 billion, already higher than the total for all of 1984, which was a record $123.3 billion.
Economists have been predicting that the deficit for all of 1985 will be between $140 billion and $150 billion.
The big surge in November was likely to come as a disappointment to analysts who had hoped that a 26.3% decline in the deficit in October marked the beginning of an improvement in America's trading woes.
Record Set in September
The big October drop followed a record $15.55-billion deficit reached in September.
The country's disastrous trading performance has been blamed on the high value of the dollar, which makes U.S. goods more expensive and harder to sell abroad while making imports cheaper and more attractive to Americans.