Vital Signs: The Fading Force of Trade

On tap: November trade data, December import and export price figures, November pending home sales

Foreign trade is proving to be an important ingredient in the U.S. economy's resilient performance. In three of the past four quarters up through the third period of 2007, the shrinking trade deficit contributed more than a percentage point to economic growth. While the trade gap should keep narrowing, it is unlikely to maintain the strong pace of last year.

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