The U.S. trade deficit in February widened by 2.6% to $47.6 billion, missing economists’ expectations for the deficit to widen to $46.2 billion. A rebound in exports was erased and offset by an increase in imports, while January’s deficit was revised higher to $45.88 billion.
When adjusted for inflation, the deficit rose to $63.3 billion, the largest since March last year and up from $61.8 billion in January. In February, exports rose 1.6% to $118.6 billion, mark the first time exports increased since September. Overall, exports of goods and services increased 1.0% to $178.1 billion.
The politically-sensitive trade deficit with China also continued to sour more than the median forecast. Imports from China fell 2.7%, but were outpaced by the fall in exports, pushing the U.S.-China trade deficit down 2.8% to $28.1 billion in February.
With data on consumer and business spending poor, the report by the Commerce Department is the latest indication that economic growth remained weak in the first quarter.