Photographer: Kevin Hagen/Getty Images

Goods Trade Deficit in U.S. Shrank to $60.5 Billion in November

America’s merchandise trade deficit shrank to $60.5 billion in November from $61.3 billion the prior month, advanced data issued by the Commerce Department showed on Tuesday.

The 1.3 percent narrowing from October will help shape economists’ tracking estimates of fourth-quarter gross domestic product. The November deficit was in line with than the median forecast of $60.7 billion based on estimates from 30 economists in a Bloomberg survey.

Advance reports on monthly international goods-only trade allow Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis to incorporate three months of official trade data into its first estimates of quarterly GDP. Previously, the BEA had two complete months of trade figures for goods and services to calculate its first estimate of GDP, prompting it to project the data for the final month of a quarter.

The monthly statistics on goods are released four to seven days before the more complete report on international trade that includes services. Data on the November trade balance in both goods and services is scheduled for Jan. 6.

The advance goods trade figures for October gave a misleading signal, with the estimate showing the deficit had shrunk to $58.4 billion from $59.1 billion in September. The complete report a week later showed the gap had instead widened to $61.3 billion from September’s revised $59.4 billion.

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