The trade deficit widened 0.6% in January to $58.2 billion, the government said March 11. This was up from $57.9 billion in December.
The widening in the deficit was largely explained by increased oil costs as the average price for a barrel of imported oil struck a record $84.09 per barrel.
"The stubbornly large trade deficit heightens the risk of recession. The deficit subtracts about $250 billion from GDP, and that amount could double if the economy slips into a prolonged recession," said Peter Morici, professor at the University of Maryland School of Business.
Source: IW Staff, Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008