US consumer demand for imports continues to grow unabated
The US trade deficit widened to $39.7bn (£20.8bn) in February, as import growth continued to outpace exports.
The overall trade deficit increased by $2.7bn from January, the Commerce Department said.
At $182.9bn, imports were up 20.5% on the same month a year ago, while exports of $143.2bn were up only 14.3%.
The trade figures confirm the trend of resurgent imports outpacing the rebound in exports as the US economy recovers from recession.
Compared with January on a seasonally-adjusted basis, imports were up 1.72% and exports were up 0.21%.
Export growth was dominated by manufacturing, while imports were driven by consumption.
The figures suggest that the surprise fall in the US trade deficit recorded in January may only have been a blip.