The U.S. trade deficit was little changed in January as imports and exports grew, the Commerce Department reported March 7.
The gap between imports and exports rose 0.3% to $39.1 billion, from $39 billion in December.
The trade deficit expanded more than economists’ forecast of $38.5 billion, Bloomberg News reported.
“Import growth will increase as the economy expands,” Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James & Associates Inc., told Bloomberg. “Any widening in the trade deficit is going to be largely transitional. The trade deficit is likely to remain relatively contained this year.”
Exports increased to $192.5 billion, and imports rose to $231.6 billion in January, the most since October.
The figures show demand for American-made goods is likely to strengthen as markets overseas, including emerging nations improve, Bloomberg reported.