As a weak global economy hurt both imports and exports and the gap with China widened, the U.S. trade deficit rose 1.1% in October to $57.2 billion.
The trade deficit with China increased marginally to $27.9 billion in October from $27.8 billion the previous month, the Commerce Department report said.
Total trade volume fell 1.7% in October, with declines in both imports and exports. October imports were down 1.4% from September to $208.9 billion while exports dipped 2.4% to $151.7 billion. The total trade deficit for the first 10 months of 2008 was $590.9 billion.
The Commerce Department said that the U.S. trade deficit in goods narrowed by less than 1% to $69.8 billion in October, while the trade surplus in services narrowed by 3% to $12.6 billion.
Exports of civilian aircraft were down 28% to $1.6 billion, which could be partly attributed to a Boeing strike that ended late October.
Net imports of petroleum in October rose by 2.5% to $32.7 billion and experts said the trade deficit would have improved had it not been for the surge in the aftermath of the September hurricanes.
Auto exports dropped by 2.3% to $10 billion, and imports fell by 5% to $17.5 billion, both figures reflecting an upward revision of September data.
The trade deficit with Canada, the U.S. largest trading partner, narrowed by 21% to $6 billion in September. The gap with Mexico, the second largest trading partner, narrowed by 2.8% to $4.8 billion.
The deficit with Japan rose to $6.0 billion from $5.6 billion.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008