By Tzu-Wen Chen, THE TAKEAWAY : [ U.S. trade deficit in January widens to largest since October 2008] > [Imports climbs on higher oil prices and stronger U.S. demand] > [ USD strengthens ] The U.S. Department of Commerce issued a report this morning revealing that the U.S. trade deficit widened in January to its largest since October 2008. The trade deficit rose more than expected to $52.6 billion in January, as high oil prices drove up imports. The department also revised its estimate for December to $50.4 billion from its initial reading of $48.8 billion. Economists polled in a Bloomberg News survey had forecasted a trade deficit reading of $49.0 billion in January. Imports rose by $233.4 billion (2.1 percent) in January, while exports increased by $180.8 billion (1.4 percent). While the rise in imports was largely affected by the higher oil prices, stronger U.S. demand also boosted imports of services, autos, consumer goods, and food and beverage. The closely watched trade deficit with China expanded to $26.0 billion dollars in January from $23.1 billion. USDJPY 1-minute Chart: March 9, 2012 Chart created using Strategy Trader – Prepared by Tzu-Wen Chen Immediately after the data release, the greenback surged against most major currencies. Although the trade balance data release was significant, its impact on the FX market was overshadowed by the key market-moving non-farm payroll data that was released at the same time. The employment data came in well above expectations, signaling continued improvements in the U.S. labor market. The greenback jumped 58 pips against the Japanese yen in the first 15 minutes after the dual data release, and at the time of this report, had continued to trade higher at 82.25 yen to the dollar. --- Written by Tzu-Wen Chen DailyFX Research
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