The U.S. trade deficit jumped almost 16% in August to $48.3 billion, largely because of a strong dollar that reduced exports to their lowest level in three years. The U.S. also saw an increase in imports tied to the release of the latest iPhones and other consumer electronics. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had predicted the deficit would rise to a seasonally adjusted $48.1 billion. Exports fell 2% to $185.1 billion in August, the Commerce Department said Tuesday, with much of the decline resulting from fewer sales overseas of U.S.-produced petroleum and other industrial supplies. Lower oil prices contributed to the decline in export sales. Yet imports rose 1.2% to $233.4 billion even though U.S. demand for foreign oil fell to an 11-year low. Imports of cell phones and other consumer electronics shot up 30% to $9.01 billion. The U.S. trade deficit with China, where most cell phones are made, increased 14.4% to $32.9 billion in August. The gap with the European Union rose 17% to $14.5 billion.
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