The trade gap edged up to a seasonally adjusted $39.1 billion from an upwardly revised $39 billion in December, the Commerce Department said Friday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a deficit of $39.7 billion.
Imports rose 0.6% to $231.6 billion while exports also climbed 0.6%, to $192.5 billion.
A bigger trade deficit is a drag on growth. Fewer sales of American goods and services overseas or higher purchases of foreign-made products help other countries more than the economy of the United States.
Exports to Russia fell to $891 million in January from $985 million in the prior month. Imports rose to $1.89 billion from $1.47 billion. The White House may slap trade sanctions on Russia because of its refusal to pull its military out of the Crimea region of Ukraine, but the U.S. doesn’t do a lot of business with the country.
Europe is a much larger trader partner of Russia, though the European Union is hesitant to resort to sanctions because it could hurt their already-weak economies.
The U.S. trade deficit with China, meanwhile, rose by $3.3 billion in January to $27.8 billion and the gap with OPEC oil-producing nations advanced by $3 billion to $7 billion. The gap with the European Union dropped $2.5 billion to $8.8 billion. Country data is not seasonally adjusted.