The U.S. trade deficit increased in July as rising imports and falling exports widened the gap from an almost four year low.
The trade balance opened 13.3 percent to $39.1 billion from June's $34.5 billion that was the smallest since October 2009, reported the Commerce Department in Washington, D.C. Economists had forecast a deficit of $38.7 billion.
Imports rose 1.6% to $228.6 billion as consumers bought record numbers of foreign cars and rising crude oil prices pushed up the cost of petroleum products to $32.5 billion.
Exports dropped 0.6 percent to $189.4 billion the second highest total after June's record $190.5 billion. The non-petroleum trade deficit rose to $20.4 billion from $17.1 billion and U.S. petroleum exports were the highest on record.
Exports to China fell 4.9 percent as the Chinese economy has slowed as the government tries to curb speculation housing and other sectors. Imports from China climbed 8.3 percent bringing the deficit with the world's second largest economy to $30.1 billion.
Exports to the European Union skidded 7.4 percent as the 27 member economic organization remained in recession. The trade deficit with Japan expanded to $6.8 billion from $5.5 billion in June.
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