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August 11, 2011 9:30 AM, EDT

Trade Deficit Expands to $53.1 Billion

Larry Smith/Trans Pixs

The U.S. trade deficit rose 4.4% in June to $53.1 billion as exports fell by the most in two-and-a-half years, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

The gap rose from a revised $50.8 billion in May, which was slightly higher than originally reported.

The increase topped economists’ forecasts, Bloomberg reported.

Exports fell 2.3% to %1709.9 million, the biggest decline since January 2009. U.S. shipments of computer and capital goods fell, Bloomberg said.

Imports slipped 0.8% to $223.9 billion, Bloomberg reported. Imports from Japan jumped 14% to $9.5 billion following that country’s March earthquake and tsunami that had lowered April and May levels.

Automobile shipments from Japan rose to $2.7 billion, from $2 billion, though ongoing parts disruptions were still depressing sales, Bloomberg said.