The nation's trade deficit contracted 28.7 percent in November, the most in 12 years, on a record drop in imports due to weak consumer demand and plummeting oil prices, the US Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

The trade gap lessened in November to $40.4 billion, lowest since November 2003. Wall Street analysts expected the trade gap to slim to around $51.3 billion. The department downwardly revised the October trade gap to $56.7 billion.

US imports in November fell 12 percent as spending fell in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Imports from China fell by a record $5.7 billion to $28.3 billion.

In the face of global economic woes the nation’s exports fell 5.8 percent in November to $142.8 billion. The total US goods exported were the lowest since June 2007, while auto and auto part exports were the lowest since October 2006.