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U.S. trade deficit jumps to largest in 14 years in August

FILE PHOTO: Shipping containers are seen at the Port Newark Container Terminal in Newark, New Jersey, U.S. on July 2, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Segar

(Reuters) - The U.S. trade deficit surged in August to the largest in 14 years with imports climbing again, suggesting that trade could be a drag on economic growth in the third quarter.

The Commerce Department said on Tuesday the trade deficit jumped 5.9% to $67.1 billion, the widest since August 2006.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the trade gap widening to $66.1 billion in August.

Imports increased by 3.2% to $239 billion. Goods imports rose $6.5 billion to $203 billion. Exports increased 2.2% to $171.9 billion. Goods exports rose $3.5 billion to $119.1 billion.

The closely watched trade deficit with China decreased $1.9 billion to $26.4 billion in August.

A smaller trade bill contributed to gross domestic product over the last three quarters. The coronarivus crisis severely disrupted trade flows, which are now picking up.

Reporting by Dan Burns; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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