A gain in imports against fairly flat exports pushed the US trade deficit higher for the fifth straight month in April, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.
A $1.1 billion increase in consumer goods was the main driver behind the 1.2 percent rise from April in overall imports, to $240.6 billion.
Exports meanwhile fell a slight 0.2 percent to $193.3 billion.
That left the monthly trade deficit at $47.2 billion, up $3.1 billion in the month and up $6.8 billion from April 2013.
For the first four months of the year, the deficit hit $174.1 billion, compared with $161.4 billion a year ago.
The increase in imports with no improvement for exports in April suggested a weak start to economic growth in the second quarter, after the first quarter's 1.0 percent contraction.
But Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics, in a research note, said the gain in imports is likely unsustainable and the "exports should rally in May/June."