A report released by the Commerce Department on Thursday showed the U.S. trade deficit widened by more than anticipated in the month of February.
The Commerce Department said the trade deficit widened to $57.6 billion in February from a revised $56.7 billion in January.
Economists had expected the trade deficit to widen to $56.8 billion from the $56.6 billion originally reported for the previous month.
The wider than expected trade deficit in February was the widest since the $60.2 billion trade deficit recorded in October of 2008.
Andrew Hunter, U.S. Economist at Capital Economics, noted the wider trade deficit was entirely due to a one-off royalty payment for broadcasting rights to the Winter Olympics.
“But net trade is still on course to have subtracted from first-quarter GDP growth, and the widening deficit will not have gone unnoticed in the White House,” Hunter said.
The report showed that politically sensitive trade deficit with China narrowed to $34.7 billion in February from $35.5 billion in January.
The value of exports climbed by 1.7 percent to $204.4 billion in February, reflecting notable increases in exports of industrial supplies and materials, passenger cars, and consumer goods.
However, the value of imports also increased by 1.7 percent to $262.0 billion due to the royalty payment for the Olympics as well as higher imports of capital goods, industrial supplies and materials, and foods, feeds, and beverages.
The Commerce Department noted the goods deficit widened to $77.0 billion in February from $76.7 billion in March, while services surplus narrowed to $19.4 billion from $20.0 billion.