WASHINGTON (October 11, 2012)--The U.S. trade deficit widened in August as exports fell to the lowest level in six months, a worrisome sign that a slowing global economy is cutting into demand for U.S. goods, the U.S. Commerce Department said Thursday.
The Commerce Department said the deficit increased to $44.2 billion in August, the biggest gap since May and a 4.1 percent increase from July.
Exports dropped 1 percent to $181.3 billion.
Demand for American-made cars and farm goods declined.
Imports edged down a slight 0.1 percent to $225.5 billion as purchases of foreign-made autos, aircraft and heavy machinery fell.
The cost of oil imports rose sharply.
A wider trade deficit acts as a drag on growth because it means the U.S. is earning less on overseas sales of American-produced goods while spending more on foreign products.