US trade deficit hit $39.1 billion in January

WASHINGTON - The U.S. trade deficit expanded to $39.1 billion in January this year, a 0.3 percent increase compared to $39 billion in December, the U.S. Department of Commerce said.

U.S. exports rose 0.6 percent to $192.8 billion boosted by stronger sales of American-made planes and machinery. However, imports also rose 0.6 percent to $231.6 billion due to an increase in imported oil.

The trade gap with China widened to a deficit of $27.8 billion, up 13.5 percent from December.

American officials and a wide range of U.S. economists claim that the Chinese currency, Yuan is significantly undervalued against U.S. dollar. This market-distorting intervention subsidizes Chinese trade, making Chinese exports artificially cheap and American exports more expensive in China.

Exports for the U.S. were at $2.27 trillion in the last year while its imports were at $2.74 billion, leaving a $471 billion trade deficit in 2013. The trade only constituted 2.8 percent of gross national product in the last year, a decrease from 3.3 percent in 2012.

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