U.S. trade deficit hit record $74.4 billion in March

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit surged to a record $74.4 billion in March as an improving U.S. economy drove purchases of imported foreign goods.

The deficit, the gap between what America buys from abroad and what it sells to other countries, was 5.6% greater than the February gap of $70.5 billion, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

Imports rose 6.3% to $274.5 billion while exports increased 6.6% to $200 billion. The U.S. imports so much more than it exports that in dollar terms, the rise in imports was greater.

READ MORE: U.S. trade deficit surged in July to highest in 12 years

The politically sensitive trade deficit with China rose 11.6% to $27.7 billion which, as usual, was the largest deficit with any single country.

Through the first three months of this year, the U.S. trade deficit totals $212.8 billion, up 64.2% from the deficit during the same period last year, a time when the U.S. economy was…

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