NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly widened in February as exports fell and imports slightly rose, according to the latest report by the Commerce Department.

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The U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly widened in February amid a slump in exports, according to the latest report by the Commerce Department.

The trade gap increased 7.7% to $42.3 billion, the largest since September 2013.  Economists had predicted a fall to $38.5 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.  The rise in the deficit is being attributed to weak exports, which slipped 1.1% to $190.4 billion in February.  That marks the lowest level of exports in five months.  Exports were weighed down by declining sales of refined petroleum products, commercial jets and industrial supplies.

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As U.S. exports fell, U.S. imports rose 0.4% to about $232.7 billion, contributing to the widening of the trade gap.  Imports of autos and clothing helped offset a drop in crude-oil imports in the month, which fell to the lowest level since October 2010.

In New York, I'm Brittany Umar for TheStreet.

Written by Brittany Umar in New York.