WASHINGTON, March 7 The U.S. trade deficit in
January widened more than expected as fuel oil exports slumped
and crude oil imports rose, a U.S. government report showed on
The monthly trade gap totaled $44.4 billion, higher than a
consensus estimate of $42.6 billion from analysts surveyed
before the Commerce Department report.
The department also lowered its estimate of the December
trade gap to $38.1 billion, from $38.5 billion previously.
The $6.3 billion month-to-month rise in the deficit was the
largest since March. Exports fell 1.2 percent to $184.5 billion
and imports rose 1.8 percent to $228.9 billion.
The drop in exports was led by industrial supplies and
materials. Fuel oil exports tumbled by a third and non-monetary
gold exports tumbled about 14 percent.
Meanwhile, exports of cars, capital goods, consumer goods,
and food, feeds and beverages showed slight gains.
Imports of crude oil and other petroleum products shot
higher as the average price for imported oil fell to $94.08 per
barrel, the lowest since July, from $95.16 in December.
Increased volume pushed the total petroleum import bill to
$31.7 billion, up more than $4 billion.
Imports of drilling equipment, telecommunications equipment
and other capital goods grew in January, while imports of
consumer goods and cars fell.
The U.S. trade deficit with China widened to $27.8 billion
in January, potentially signaling another record annual deficit
in 2013 after hitting $315 billion in 2012.