WASHINGTON The U.S. trade deficit was little changed in January as a rebound in exports matched an increase in imports.
The Commerce Department said on Friday the trade gap was at $39.1 billion from December's revised shortfall of $39.0 billion. December's trade gap was previously reported as being $38.7 billion.
January's trade deficit was in line with economists' expectations.
When adjusted for inflation, the trade gap dipped to $48.5 billion in January from $49.2 billion the prior month.
This measure goes into the calculation of gross domestic product. Trade contributed about one percentage point to the fourth-quarter's annualized 2.4 percent growth pace as exports grew at their fastest pace in three years.
In January, exports increased 0.6 percent to $192.5 billion.
Exports to China tumbled 20.8 percent in January, widening the politically sensitive U.S. trade deficit with the world's second-largest economy.
Imports from that country were up 1.7 percent. Exports to the 27-nation European Union rose 3.1 percent.
Overall imports rose 0.6 percent to $231.6 billion in January, with capital goods surging to a record high.
A moderation in domestic demand and an inventory accumulation by businesses will likely constrain import growth in the first quarter of the year.
(Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Paul Simao)