[UNITED STATES] Oil imports widen US trade deficit

The US trade deficit has hit its highest since September 2005, reaching $60.9 billion in April as a result of a surge in oil imports. The US Department of Commerce said in a report that the difference between US imports and exports jumped 7.8 percent in April which was higher than economists' estimates of $60 billion.

Imports increased by $9.4 billion, including $5.4 billion for oil and related products, while there was a surge of $5 billion in exports.

The Commerce Department said exports showed the biggest gain in four years since the weak dollar made American products more competitive abroad. Petroleum accounted for $34.5 billion of the overall deficit while the trade gap with China leaped 26 percent to $20.2 billion.

US lawmakers say the US-China deficit, which represents one third of the total trade gap, is due to China's policy of undervaluing its currency to make its products cheaper. The trade gap with members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) rose 10.5 percent to 15.6 billion dollars.

US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Tuesday that the risk of a substantial downturn in the US economy had 'diminished over the past month or so' despite a recent rise in unemployment, which saw last month its biggest jump in 20 years.

Source: PressTV

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