US trade deficit

The United States trade outlook was slammed again in January by a hefty trade deficit of $10.3 billion -- 28 percent higher than the December figure, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. Even though the US achieved a record of $19.4 billion in exports for the month, the progress was overshadowed by $29.7 billion in goods shipped to this country from overseas. The import surge came from increases in passenger cars, telecommunications equipment, and iron and steel mill products.

Goods that pushed the US to its record export level were electrical machinery, office automation equipment, cars, fertilizers, and coal. Agriculture exports, however, dropped 9 percent from December.

Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldrige predicted even wider deficits owing to the strength of the dollar.

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