The U.S. exported roughly $187.4 billion worth of goods in April and imported $227.7 billion in that same period, resulting in a goods and services deficit of $40.3 billion, up from March’s revised figure of $37.1 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis announced Tuesday.

The deficit increased as demand for cars and foreign products outpaced the export of U.S. goods.

“April exports were $2.2 billion more than March exports of $185.2 billion. April imports were $5.4 billion more than March imports of $222.3 billion,” the report notes.

“In April, the goods deficit increased $3.2 billion from March to $58.6 billion, and the services surplus increased $0.1 billion from March to $18.3 billion,” it adds.

The April-March deficit increased at a rate of 8.5 percent.

“Exports of goods increased $1.8 billion to $131.1 billion, and imports of goods increased $5.0 billion to $189.7 billion,” the report adds.

The increase in exports is the second-highest level on record.

“Companies sold more telecommunications equipment, industrial machinery and airplane parts, while U.S.-made autos and auto parts also rose to an all-time high of $12.8 billion,” the Associated Press notes.

Still, at a rate of 2.4 percent, imports easily outstripped exports with a total of $222.7 billion.

“Sales of foreign cars increased to $25.5 billion. Americans also bought more consumer goods, led by big gain in foreign-made cell phones,” the AP report adds. “The report showed a weaker global economy continues to reduce demand for U.S. exports. That’s likely to weigh on growth in the April-June quarter.”

The obvious problem with a widening trade gap is that it means U.S. consumers are investing less money in the states and more in overseas goods.

The U.S. trade deficit with the European Union grew 25.6 percent to $12.4 billion. U.S. exports to the areas 27-member states fell by 7.9 percent, while imports from the region went up a bit.

“The politically sensitive deficit with China surged to $24.1 billion, the highest level since January and the largest with any single nation. Imports jumped 21 percent, while exports fell 4.7 percent,” the AP notes. “The March deficit had been artificially lowered by shipping disruptions caused by the Chinese New Year holiday.”

As could be expected with fewer U.S. exports, activity in American factories has slowed, according to a manufacturing report released Monday.

The deficit for FY2013 is running at an annual rate of about $491.9 billion, down by 8 percent from the revised FY2012’s annual deficit of $534.7 billion.

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