WASHINGTON — The U.S. international trade deficit was $46 billion for February, a 12.4% decrease from the slightly revised $52.5 billion deficit for January, originally reported as a $52.6 billion gap, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

Economists expected a $52.0 billion deficit.

Exports were $181.2 billion and imports totaled $227.2 billion. The February figure is $600 million greater than the February 2011 deficit.

February exports were up $200 million from the previous month's $180.9 billion. That increase reflected an $800 million climb in the export of services, especially travel and private services, the department reported.

That increase offset a $600 million decline in the export of goods.

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