The U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly widened in September as exports hit a five-month low, suggesting slowing global demand could undercut economic growth in the final three months of the year.
The Commerce Department said on Tuesday the trade gap increased 7.6 percent to $43.03 billion. Economists had forecast the shortfall at $40.00 billion in September.
“The disappointing performance in export activity suggests that the loss of export competitiveness from the strong dollar and the weak global backdrop are becoming a net drag on U.S. economic activity,” said Millan Mulraine, deputy chief economist at TD Securities in New York.
The trade deficit was bigger than the $38.1 billion gap that the government had assumed in its advance gross domestic product estimate for the third quarter published last week.