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U.S. Trade Deficit Unexpectedly Widens To Largest Since Last April

(RTTNews) - A report released by the Commerce Department on Thursday showed the U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly widened in the month of February.

The Commerce Department said the trade deficit increased to $68.9 billion in February from a revised $67.6 billion in January.

Economists had expected the trade deficit to narrow to $67.0 billion from the $67.4 billion originally reported for the previous month.

The wider trade deficit in February matched the largest gap between imports and exports since the deficit reached $72.2 billion last April.

The increase in the size of the trade deficit came even though the goods deficit narrowed to $91.4 billion in February from $91.7 billion in January, as the services surplus shrank to $22.5 billion from $24.1 billion.

The report said the value of imports of services spiked by 3.9 percent to $63.8 billion amid notable increases in imports of travel and transport services. The value of export of services climbed 1.0 percent to $86.4 billion.

The total value of imports surged by 2.2 percent to $331.9 billion in February after jumping 1.2 percent to $324.8 billion in January.

The value of imports reached the highest level in well over a year amid the surge in imports of services as well as notable increases in imports of cell phones and other household goods; foods, feeds, and beverages; and automotive vehicles, parts, and engines.

Meanwhile, the value of exports shot up by 2.3 percent to a record high of $263.0 billion in February after inching up by 0.1 percent to $257.2 billion in January.

Increases in exports of industrial supplies and materials, including crude oil; foods, feeds, and beverages; and civilian aircraft more than offset a decrease in exports of automotive vehicles, parts, and engines.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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