By Yuka Hayashi 

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. trade deficit widened in January as American consumers stepped up purchases of imported products.

The deficit in trade of goods and services expanded by 1.9% to a seasonally adjusted $68.2 billion in January, the Commerce Department said Friday, compared with a $66.97 billion gap in December. Analysts polled by The Wall Street Journal had projected a deficit of $67.6 billion.

Imports increased 1.2% to $260.2 billion from December, while exports grew 1.0% to $191.9 billion.

Americans splurged on consumer goods in January, helped by $600 payments many received as part of the latest round of government stimulus spending to fight the impact of the pandemic. Retail sales jumped a seasonally adjusted 5.3% in January from the previous month, the biggest increase since June.

With the global economy on a recovery path, exports also expanded modestly, bolstered by higher shipments of industrial supplies and capital goods. Many countries loosened restrictions on economic activity at a quicker pace as Covid-19 cases fell sharply from their peak around the new year.

Write to Yuka Hayashi at yuka.hayashi@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 05, 2021 09:09 ET (14:09 GMT)

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