The trade gap tacked on an additional $58 billion to reach $558 billion for the year. Exports in 2011 reached $2.1 trillion, while imports reached $2.6 trillion.
For the year, the trade deficit in goods reached $737.1 billion, up $91.2 billion above 2010. The trade surplus in services rose to $179 billion, up $33.2 billion over 2010.
In the final month of the year, the trade gap appeared to be defining a new plateau. In August through October of 2011, the deficit averaged $44.1 billion, holding to thin margins of difference. That shot up to $47.1 billion in November and climbed again in December, the bureau said.
In December, U.S. exports climbed by $1.2 billion from November to $178.7 billion. Imports in the month imports rose by $3 billion to $227.6 billion.
From December 2010 to December 2011, the deficit rose by $8.3 billion, with exports up 9 percent, or by $14.8 billion, and imports up 11.3 percent, or by $23.1 billion.
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