Washington — A tide of bargain-priced imported merchandise reached the United States in August, generating the largest monthly trade deficit in more than a year and a half, the government says. At $5.6 billion, the deficit in merchandise trade was the biggest monthly gulp of red ink the US has had to swallow since February 1980, the Commerce Department reports. July's deficit was only $1.46 billion.
The total value of imported goods shot up 19 percent in August, in what department analysts said was one of the sharpest import surges on record. American-made expected goods dropped 1.1 percent.