Spain nearly halved its trade deficit in the year to November as the recession-hit country cut back on imports, government data showed Monday. The trade shortfall fell 47.4 percent to 1.407 billion euros ($1.9 billion), its lowest level for the month of November since 1997, the conomy ministry said. For the January-November period, the trade deficit stood at 29.46 billion euros, a decline of 29.5 percent. Imports during the first 11 months of 2012 fell by 2.1 percent to 234.32 billion euros while exports rose by 3.7 percent to 204.86 billion euros. The Spanish government has forecast an economic contraction this year of 0.5 percent, far more optimistic than most private forecasts centred on a 1.5-percent drop in gross domestic product.