US trade gap widens sharply in September

The US trade deficit increased sharply in September, to $41.8 billion, as imports swelled, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

The increase in the trade gap was much larger than analysts expected, with the average estimate pegged at $39.1 billion.

The Commerce Department slightly downwardly revised the August trade deficit to $38.7 billion, previously estimated at $38.8 billion.

In September, US imports jumped $2.7 billion from the prior month to $230.7 billion.

Exports fell to $188.9 billion from $189.2 billion in August.

Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics said the report was "worse than expected" and implied the Commerce Department would downwardly revise its estimate for third-quarter economic growth, initially seen at an annual rate of 2.8 percent.

The goods deficit was $2.5 billion higher than the department first estimated, "implying a 0.24 percent downward revision to headline GDP growth, other things equal," he said.

The September data showed little movement from a year ago. Exports were up 1.1 and imports were up 1 percent from September 2012.