The U.S. trade deficit widened more than analysts expected in February, growing by 7.4%, or $2.7 billion, to $39.7 billion, the Commerce Department reported yesterday.
The deficit widened as February exports rose just 0.2%, or about $300 million, to $143.2 billion while imports of goods and services jumped 1.7%, or $3.1 billion, to $182.9 billion.
February’s 7.4% rise in the overall trade deficit was the largest jump since December, which saw a 10.5% increase to $39.9 billion.
It followed a revised $36.95 billion deficit in January, originally reported as a $37.3 billion deficit.
Economists expected the February trade deficit to widen to $38.5 billion, according to the median estimate from Thomson Reuters.
Meanwhile, on a seasonally unadjusted basis, the overall trade imbalance with China narrowed slightly, to $16.5 billion from about $18.3 billion, as exports remained essentially unchanged while imports decreased.
Imports from China totaled $23.4 billion, down from $25.2 billion the previous month and the lowest level since May, when they fell to $22.7 billion.