US Trade Deficit Widens

Washington, Jumada I 24, 1437, Mar 4, 2016, SPA — The US trade deficit rose in January as exports fell for a fourth consecutive month, the government reported Friday. The imbalance between exports and imports climbed to $45.7 billion in January from $44.7 billion the previous month, the Commerce Department said.
Exports of goods and services fell 2.1 percent in January to $176.5 billion, the lowest since mid-2011. Exporters have been hurt by global economic weakness and by a strong U.S. dollar that makes American products more expensive overseas.
The strong dollar should be helping imports by making them cheaper in the United States, but imports declined 1.3 percent to $222.1 billion in January, the lowest since spring of 2011. Lower oil prices account for part of the drop. Petroleum imports of $11.2 billion were the lowest since late 2003, but imports of autos and auto parts hit a record high of $30.6 billion.
The politically sensitive trade deficit with China increased to $31.1 billion in January from $29.7 billion the previous month. The imbalance with the European Union fell to $12.6 billion from $13.3 billion in December.
Expanding trade deficits limit U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest measure of economic output. In 2015, the trade imbalance cut more than 0.6 percentage point off annual GDP growth of 2.4 percent.

20:04 LOCAL TIME 17:04 GMT