The decline in exports in December was entirely due to a fall in exports of goods, led by industrial supplies and materials and capital goods. Services exports increased, reflecting gains in travel, passenger fares and other transportation services.
Imports of both goods and services increased, notably in consumer goods, which hit a record $45.7 billion, and travel services.
For all of 2013, the United States had the smallest deficit since 2009, mainly thanks to a 2.8 percent rise in exports, although slightly lower imports helped.
The 2013 trade deficit was $471.5 billion, a decline of 11.8 percent from 2012.