Rising oil prices boost US trade gap

The US trade deficit ballooned to its highest level in more than two and half years last month, climbing to $50.2bn (£31.5bn), largely owing to rising oil import prices. Exports fell by 0.5 per cent to $174.9bn, while imports rose by 2.6 per cent to $225.1bn, the highest since July 2008, driving the trade gap to its widest since October 2008, according to figures from the US Commerce Department.

The rise in the trade deficit came as oil import prices climbed to their highest levels since August 2008, reaching $108.7 per barrel against a backdrop of continued resilience on the global commodity markets.