US trade gap widens on increased Chinese imports

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Shipping containers at the Port of Long Beach, California
Image caption,
A slight increase in US exports was outstripped by a rise in imports

The US trade deficit was wider than expected in August, figures have shown, in the wake of record imports from China.

US Commerce Department figures showed the gap between imported and exported goods grew by 8.8% to $46.4bn (£29bn).

Imports from China grew 6.1% in August to a record $35.3bn. The US trade deficit with China also set a new record of $28.0bn.

US exports to China remained essentially unchanged at $7.3bn.

The previous record trade deficit with China was $27.9bn in October 2008.

The US has been pressing China to let the value of the yuan rise against other currencies.

The American government says that Beijing's current policy, which limits the movement of the yuan against the dollar, gives Chinese exporters an unfair competitive advantage.

Overall, US exports edged up a slightly, by 0.2%, but this was overshadowed by a 2.1% increase in imports.

Meanwhile another report said prices at the wholesale level, apart from a sharp rise in food and energy costs, remained largely unchanged.

The Labor Department said that excluding those two categories, core wholesale prices rose by 0.1%.

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