The U.S. monthly trade deficit widened more than expected in July to $62.2 billion, marking the deepest monthly deficit since March 2007. The consensus was for the deficit to come in at $58.0 billion, following an upwardly revised $58.8 billion in June, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Thursday.

June's reading was previously reported at $56.8 billion.

Total July exports were $168.148 billion, while imports were $168.148 billion, resulting in a goods and services deficit of $62.198 billion. July exports were up 3.3%, or $5.36 billion more than June exports of $162.788 billion, and July imports were up 3.9%, or $8.72 billion more than June imports of $230.347 billion.

Prior to the release, economists from Fortis said: "The sharp fall in June came about despite another month of steeply higher energy prices, and reflected a distinct improvement in the ex-petroleum deficit. In July, energy prices continued to exert upward pressure on imports, while we should see much slower export growth."

By Patrick McGee and edited by Nancy Girgis
©CEP News Ltd. 2008