The U.S. trade gap widened slightly in December to the third-highest level on record and pushed the annual deficit to a record $725.8 billion, up 17.5 percent from 2004, the Commerce Department said on Friday.

The December deficit totaled $65.7 billion, up 1.5 percent from a revised $64.7 billion in November. Analysts had expected high oil import prices and inventory rebuilding to keep the monthly trade gap near $65 billion.

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