WASHINGTON ( TheStreet) -- The U.S. trade deficit widened further in May, driven, in part, by a jump in imports for items like computers, cars and parts, and pharmaceutical drugs.

Despite forecasts calling for a contraction, the trade deficit expanded to $42.3 billion, the Commerce Department said. According to consensus forecasts provided by Briefing.com, Wall Street was looking for the deficit to fall to $39.4 billion in May from $40.3 billion in April.

Exports rose by $3.5 billion to $152.3 billion, as overseas appeal for U.S. items like industrial machinery, jewelry, generators, and medical equipment all bettered during the month. Still, import growth outpaced exports in May, increasing by $5.5 billion to $194.5 billion.

The nation's much-watched deficit with China -- the U.S.'s largest with any trading partner -- also grew to its largest level since last fall, or to a non-seasonally adjusted $22.3 billion from $19.3 billion in April.

--Written by Sung Moss in New York

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