The government's latest numbers on the U.S. trade deficit Thursday showed an expected widening, marked by the U.S. buying $20 billion more from China than it sold to China in the month of May.
That trade gap is one of the many issues heating up the charged political atmosphere between the U.S. and China.
The Commerce Department reported that the overall deficit for May rose to $60.04 billion, up by 2.3 percent from the April level. Most of the increase reflected a big jump in energy imports, which climbed to the highest level in nine months.
America's trade deficit rose to its second highest level of the year, reflecting higher prices for foreign oil and a continued appetite for Chinese goods despite this year's recalls of tainted products.
The $20 billion deficit with China is the biggest imbalance in four months. So far this year, the deficit with China is running 17.2 percent ahead of the pace set last year when the overall deficit soared to an all-time high of $233 billion.
From NPR reports and The Associated Press