The U.S. trade deficit jumped in January to the highest level in nearly five years as a flood of mobile phones and other consumer products widened America’s trade gap with China. The figure underscores the challenges facing President Donald Trump in fulfilling a campaign pledge to reduce America’s trade deficits.
The Commerce Department says the deficit in January rose 9.6 percent to $48.5 billion, up from a December deficit of $44.3 billion. It was the largest monthly gap since a deficit of $50.2 billion in March 2012.
U.S. exports edged up a slight 0.6 percent to $192.1 billion, helped by stronger auto sales. But the export gain was swamped by a 2.3 percent surge in imports, led by mobile phones, oil and foreign-made cars.