U.S. trade deficit rises to $40.4 bln in March

08:59, May 13, 2010      

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The U.S. trade deficit rose to 40.4 billion dollars in March, the biggest monthly trade deficit since December 2008, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

The March deficit was slightly higher than the 40.1 billion dollar gap that economists had been expecting and was 2.5 percent higher than March's revised trade gap of 39.4 billion dollars.

The rise in trade deficit was mainly due to a 25.5 percent jump in crude oil shipments, which rose to 22.3 billion dollars in March, the highest amount since October 2008.

For March, exports of goods and services rose 3.2 percent to 147.87 billion dollars, meanwhile, imports rose 3.1 percent to 188.3 billion dollars. Both exports and imports were the most since October 2008.

In the first three months of this year, the deficit is running at an annual rate of 467.2 billion dollars, 23.4 percent higher than the year-ago level of 378.6 billion dollars.



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