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News > Economy  
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Trade gap widens
February trade deficit widest in nearly a year as imports grow, exports remain nearly flat.
April 17, 2002: 9:50 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. trade deficit expanded sharply in February to its widest in nearly a year, fueled by demand for imported vehicles and consumer goods, while American exports rose only marginally, the government said Wednesday.

The February trade gap of $31.51 billion was the largest since the April 2001 tally of $31.94 billion.

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The Commerce Department also said that when imports of oil and petroleum were factored out, the February gap was the largest on record.

It beat economists' average estimate of $28.8 billion by a wide margin and was $3.27 billion above the January deficit.

Reflecting a rebounding U.S. economy, imports rose to $110.70 billion in February from $106.48 billion in January, the highest since $112.23 billion in August.

Although the increase in imports was more evidence of a U.S. economic recovery, it could push down first-quarter gross domestic product estimates. The first estimate of first-quarter GDP is due out April 26.

Automotive imports rose $1.6 billion in February to the highest level since October 2000. Imports of consumer goods increased $1.1 billion and were the highest since March 2001.

U.S. exports totaled $79.19 billion in February, up about $1 billion from January but still well below the February 2001 peak of $90.24 billion. The slight rise was spread evenly among most major categories, although exports of consumer goods were virtually unchanged.

The U.S. trade gap with China narrowed slightly in February to $6.50 billion and also decreased slightly with the European Union to $4.79 billion. The trade gap with Japan widened to $5.66 billion, an increase of almost $1 billion.  Top of page


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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.