National

Nov 13, 2009 10:24 AM by Associated Press

Imported oil sends trade deficit soaring

The U.S. trade deficit widened more than expected in September as foreign oil prices rose to the highest level in nearly a year, swamping a fifth consecutive gain in exports.

Economists expect a rebounding global economy will keep pushing demand for exports higher, helping to bolster the U.S. recovery. The Commerce Department says the trade deficit jumped 18.2 percent in September to $36.5 billion.

That was the largest deficit since January and more than the $31.7 billion imbalance economists had expected.

Exports, which have been rising since May, increased 2.9 percent to $132 billion, reflecting stronger sales of American autos, aircraft and industrial machinery.

Imports rose 5.8 percent to $168.4 billion, led by a 20.1 percent jump in oil shipments.

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