March 4, 2016
The U.S. trade gap continues to widen, putting downward pressure on U.S. gross domestic product. In January, the spread between exports and imports rose to $45.7-billion, according to a Commerce Dept. report.
The primary causes for the deficit are global weakness and a strong dollar, making U.S. products more expensive overseas. Exports of goods and services fell 2.1 percent in January, to $176.5-billion, the fourth consecutive month in which exports have fallen.
Typically, a strong dollar should make imports cheaper in America, but they decreased by 1.3 percent to $222.1-billion in January. Lower oil prices explain part of the drop, but January imports of autos and auto parts hit a record $30.6-billion.