ECONOMY

US trade deficit widens in October from a nearly 3-year low

The U.S. trade deficit climbed in October from its lowest monthly level in nearly three years. Imports of consumer goods such as medicine, cell phones and clothing increased, while exports of soybeans tumbled_fueling the monthly widening of the trade gap.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that the deficit rose to $42.6 billion in October, up 17.8 percent from September. The $36.2 billion trade deficit in September was the lowest since December 2013.

The trade deficit so far this year is running 2.1 percent below its 2015 levels. Exports slipped in October as shipments of soybeans fell, while imports surged to a 14-month high.

President-elect Donald Trump has made reducing the trade deficit a primary focus, saying that flawed trade agreements that have hurt U.S. economic growth and factory employment.