US trade gap rises 6th straight month to 9 ½-year high

The U.S. trade deficit rose for the sixth straight month in February, reaching the highest level since October 2008 and defying President Donald Trump's efforts to rebalance America's lopsided trade with the rest of the world.

The Commerce Department says the trade gap widened to $57.6 billion in February from $56.7 billion in January. Exports of goods and services hit a record $204.4 billion; imports set a record $262 billion.

The politically sensitive trade deficit in goods with China narrowed in February to $29.3 billion from $36 billion in January. China and the United States — the world's biggest economies — are engaged in a trade dispute that has rattled investors and raised fears among U.S. farmers and businesses that depend on access to the Chinese market.