U.S. Trade Gap Widens to $58.2 Billion

Increase due to steep rise of crude oil

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

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