The U.S. trade deficit, after falling to the lowest point in more than two years, increased in April as a surge in imported goods outpaced a rebound in exports.

The Commerce Department says the deficit increased 5.3 percent in April to $37.4 billion, up from an imbalance of $35.5 billion in March. Exports increased 1.5 percent to $182.8 billion but imports rose faster, increasing 2.1 percent to $220.2 billion.

The politically sensitive deficit with China surged 16.3 percent to $24.3 billion, a development certain to heighten trade tensions between the world's two largest economies.

So far this year, the deficit is running 4.8 percent below the pace set a year ago with a fall in imports offsetting further weakness in U.S. exports, which have been hurt by global weakness.