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US trade deficit up 8.5% to $40.3 billion

WASHINGTON — The U.S. trade deficit widened in April, as demand for foreign cars, cell phones and other imported goods outpaced growth in U.S. exports.

The Commerce Department says the trade gap rose 8.5 percent in April from March to $40.3 billion. Exports increased 1.2 percent to $187.4 billion, the second-highest level on record. But imports grew an even faster 2.4 percent to $227.7 billion.

A wider trade gap can restrain growth because it means U.S. consumers and businesses are spending more on foreign goods than U.S. companies are taking in from overseas sales.

The report showed that Europe’s recession is still weighing on U.S. companies. Exports to Europe fell 7.9 percent. Weaker global growth could hold back U.S. exports and growth this year.



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