The U.S. trade deficit was little changed in August, rising 0.4%, the Commerce Department reported.
The gap between imports and exports increased to $38.8 billion from $38.6 billion in July, a margin smaller than previously reported.
The trade deficit was below economists’ forecast of $39.4 billion, Bloomberg News reported.
“It’s going to be tough for us to grow exports,” Jay Bryson, a global economist at Wells Fargo Securities told Bloomberg. “That’s going to be a real challenge to do unless you really stoke up demand in the rest of the world,” he said.
Exports decreased 0.1% to $189.2 billion, and imports were little changed at $228 billion.
Fiscal gridlock probably is holding back consumer spending heading into the holiday season, slowing imports, Bloomberg reported.