A surge in oil prices and demand for foreign cars pushed imports up at the fastest pace in 18 years in January, giving the country the largest trade deficit in six months.
According to data released by the Commerce Department Thursday, the january deficit increased 15.1 percent to $46.3 billion. Exports reached an all-time high of $167.7 billion with a 2.7 percent jump, but imports rose at nearly twice the pace of exports, to $214.1 billion. America's foreign oil debt rose 9.5 percent, adding to concerns that higher oil prices could slow economic growth.
The data also tracks other countries trades. China reported a surprising trade deficit of $7.3 billion in February. The county typically runs huge trade surpluses. A surge in commodity prices pushed imports up 19.4 percent. China's exports fell 2.4 percent.
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