The U.S. trade deficit rose by a worse-than-expected 6% in July to $62.2 billion on high oil prices and surging Chinese imports, the Commerce Department said on Sept. 11.
The July gap was wider than the consensus forecast for an increase to $58 billion. It was the largest gap since March 2007 and followed two consecutive months of shrinking deficits as a weak dollar boosted exports.
July exports rose $5.4 billion to a total $168.1 billion and imports were up $8.7 billion to $230.3 billion.
On a 12-month basis, the July trade deficit was $4.9 billion higher than a year ago.
Oil imports accounted for more than half of the trade gap. Petroleum imports rose to $43.4 billion from a revised $37.3 billion, the sharpest increase in the year to date. The trade gap with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) surged 34% to $24.2 billion.
Chinese imports swelled to $24.9 billion in July from $21.4 billion in June.
The trade deficit with the EU leapt to $11 billion in July from $8.2 billion the prior month.
The gap with Canada rose 15% to $8.3 billion and the deficit with Japan edged 3.3% higher to $6.3 billion.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008