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 February 5, 2016 - 1:01 AM EST
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UPDATE1: U.S. 2015 trade deficit hits 3-year high on weak exports

The

U.S.
trade deficit in goods and services in 2015 hit a three-year high, the government said Friday, on a drop in exports triggered by the slowdown in
China
and other overseas economies and the dollar's appreciation.

The trade gap rose 4.6 percent from 2014 to $531.5 billion, the second straight year-on-year expansion, as exports declined 4.8 percent to $2,230.32 billion and imports fell 3.1 percent to $2,761.82 billion, the Commerce Department said.

The percentage decline in exports was the largest since a 14 percent drop in 2009, the low point of the global Great Recession that began with the

U.S.
housing loan crisis.

Exports decreased in 2015, reflecting sluggish demand for petroleum products, drilling and oilfield equipment, automobiles and beans, and as the dollar appreciated in value against other major currencies, making

U.S.
products and services more expensive.

The trade deficit in goods with

China
hit a record $365.7 billion, up 6.6 percent from a year earlier, while that deficit with
Japan
increased 2.2 percent to $68.65 billion.

The average import price per barrel of crude oil in 2015 stood at $47.26, according to the department.

In December alone, the deficit in goods and services widened 2.7 percent from November to $43.36 billion and the average crude oil price fell to $36.60, the lowest since $35.27 recorded in January 2005, it said.

==Kyodo

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Source: Equities.com News (February 5, 2016 - 1:01 AM EST)

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