The U.S. trade deficit surged 10.4% to $40.18 billion in December from November, the Commerce Department reported. It was the biggest imbalance in 12 months and reflected a rebounding economy that is pushing up demand for imports. Imports were up 4.8% to $182.9 billion, led by a 14.8% jump in oil imports. Exports grew for an eighth consecutive month, climbing 3.3% to $142.7 billion, reflecting solid gains in sales of commercial aircraft, industrial machinery and U.S.-made autos and auto parts. For all of 2009, the deficit totaled $380.66 billion, the smallest imbalance in eight years, as demand for imports slackened due to the recession. However, economists believe the deficit will rise in 2010, with gains in imports outpacing anticipated export gains. The December imbalance was the largest since the deficit was at $41.9 billion in December 2008. Since hitting a nine-year low of $25.8 billion in May, the deficit has increased as the U.S. economy has slowly climbed its way out of the recession.