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By MARTIN CRUTSINGER
AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The U.S. trade deficit widened by a record amount in March as exports of U.S. aircraft and other manufactured goods fell while American purchases of foreign consumer goods from toys to clothing soared.
The Commerce Department said Friday that the trade imbalance jumped by 16.1 percent in March, to $31.2 billion.
That represented a $4.3 billion widening from February’s deficit of $26.9 billion, the largest one-month deterioration in trade on record. The overall deficit in March was the largest since a $33.3 billion January imbalance.
Economists had been expecting the deficit to widen again following the unexpectedly big improvement in February, but not by such a large amount.
The politically sensitive deficits with Japan and China both increased, as did the imbalances with much of the rest of the world. America’s deficit with Mexico hit an all-time high.