The US trade deficit rose to its highest level since 2008 in December as strong domestic demand led to surging imports.
Official data showed the US deficit in goods and services jumped to $53.1bn in December, an increase of $2.7bn from November, and markedly higher than economists´ consensus forecasts for a deficit of $52bn.
Imports for December were up by $6.2bn versus November.
Rising imports was a factor in the recent slowdown in economic growth reported for the US in the fourth quarter, the 2.6% expansion comparing with the annual 3.2% growth of the prior quarter.
At the same time, the latest trade figures also reflect the rising value of commodity imports due to higher commodity prices.
The increase in the trade deficit is highly sensitive at present given the Trump administration´s current crusade to simultaneously boost economic growth but improve the balance of trade.