US trade gap widens more than expected in September

(Reuters) – The U.S. trade deficit widened more than expected in September, making it less likely for trade to have contributed to growth in the third quarter.

The trade deficit expanded 4.9% to $61.5 billion from a modestly revised $58.7 billion in August, which was the lowest level since September 2020, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the trade deficit shrinking to $59.9 billion in September.

Exports of goods and services increased 2.2% to $261.1 billion. Goods exports shot up 3.1% to $176.7 billion. At $84.4 billion, exports of services were the highest on record.

Imports of goods and services rose 2.7% to $322.7 billion. Goods imports rose 2.7% to $263.0 billion, while services imports rose 2.6% to $59.6 billion.

The services surplus retreated modestly to $24.8 billion from a revised $25.9 billion. In the advance reading of third-quarter gross domestic product reported last month, trade was a fractional drag on the period’s outsized 4.9% annualized growth rate.

(Reporting By Dan Burns; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)