The U.S. trade deficit hit a record $11.43 billion as oil imports climbed to the highest level in more than four years, swamping an improvement in exports.
The worse-than-expected trade performance sent the dollar sliding Tuesday and contributed to a big sell-off on Wall Street.
The Commerce Department reported the May deficit was 0.1 percent above the April mark of $11.42 billion with imports climbing to a record.
There was a small improvement in America’s persistent deficit with Japan, but the imbalance with China and Mexico, two other big trading partners, worsened.
Analysts had been expecting the deficit would shrink by as much as $2 billion.
Exports rose 1.3 percent in May to a high of $64.81 billion. But imports, instead of falling, climbed 1.1 percent to $76.24 billion with two-thirds of the increase coming in a higher foreign oil bill.