Monday, March 12, 2012

US trade deficit hits $52.6 billion in January

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit surged to the widest imbalance in more than three years in January as imports hit an all-time high, reflecting big demand for foreign-made cars, computers and food products.

U.S. exports to Europe fell, raising concerns that the debt crisis in that region could dampen U.S. economic growth.

The January trade deficit widened to $52.6 billion, the biggest gap since October 2008, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Imports rose 2.1 percent to a record $233.4 billion. Exports were up a smaller 1.4 percent to $180.8 billion. Exports to Europe fell 7.5 percent.

Economists are looking for the deficit this year to widen from last year's $560 billion imbalance, reflecting in part the economic woes in Europe, which represents about 20 percent of America's export market. A wider deficit can depress economic growth because it usually means fewer export-related jobs. Read More