The Commerce Department has released international trade figures for last December and full year 2012. Exports for the latter period hit an all-time record, advancing by nearly $93 billion to total $2.2 trillion. In addition to the overall figure, numerous categories also reached historic peaks. These included capital goods, automobiles (as well as parts and engines), consumer goods, and travel and tourism.

For December, exports rose by $3.9 billion on a month-over-month basis to $186 billion.

Meanwhile, imports also hit a record for the full year at $2.7 trillion. The growth in this indicator was slower than that for exports, and as a result, the trade deficit contracted to $540 billion from 2011's $560 billion.

December imports fell nearly 3% from November to land at $225 billion. This, in combination with the growth in exports, reduced the nation's goods and services trade deficit by 21% to $38.5 billion.