US trade deficit widens in March on pricier oil

AP News
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Posted: May 11, 2011 8:35 AM
US trade deficit widens in March on pricier oil

U.S. companies sold a record amount of goods and services overseas in March, but a big jump in oil imports pushed the nation's trade deficit higher.

The Commerce Department says the trade deficit rose 6 percent to $48.2 billion. That's up from $45.4 billion in February. Exports increased to $172.7 billion, the largest on records dating back to 1996. The dollar's decline in recent months has made U.S. goods cheaper overseas, and exports have also risen due to rapid growth in developing countries.

However, oil imports soared to $39.3 billion, an 18 percent rise from the previous month. That's the highest level since August 2008, and reflects steep price increases and more demand.

The trade deficit with China decreased to $18.1 billion. That's down slightly from $18.8 billion in February.