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News In Brief

US trade deficit rises to record $10.1 billion

The nation's merchandise trade deficit expanded to a record $10.1 billion in February, the second consecutive month it has set a new high, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

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The value of export sales plunged 6.1 percent, to $17.2 billion while imports maintained their strength at $27.3 billion. It was the second highest import total on record, although down 1.8 percent from January.

As the trade deficit widens further, costing export-related industries earnings and taking the edge off economic growth, pressure is growing on Capitol Hill for measures to cut down the rush of imports.

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