Trade deficit grows in January as imports, crude-oil prices hit record highs
The United Statesâ€™ trade deficit grew larger in January as imports – including crude-oil prices â€” zoomed to all-time highs.
The latest snapshot of trade activity, reported by the Commerce Department on Tuesday, showed that the countryâ€™s trade gap increased to $58.2 billion. That was up from a trade shortfall of $57.9 billion in December and was the highest since November.
Imports of goods and services climbed to a record high of $206.4 billion in January. The United Statesâ€™ voracious appetite for imported crude oil, where prices skyrocketed to the loftiest on record, figured into the increasing demand for overall imports.
The trade gap widened even as exports of U.S.-made goods and services totaled a record high of $148.2 billion in January. The declining value of the U.S. dollar, relative to other currencies such as the euro, is helping to make U.S.-made goods cheaper and thus more attractive to foreign buyers.
Economists were expecting the trade deficit in January to be a bit larger – growing to around $59 billion.