07/07/2015 08:58 EDT | Updated 07/07/2016 05:59 EDT

US trade deficit widens 2.9 per cent to $41.9 billion in May, reflecting drop in exports

WASHINGTON - The U.S. trade deficit widened slightly in May, reflecting declines in sales of American-made aircraft and machinery as exports continued to suffer from the rising value of the dollar.

The Commerce Department says the deficit increased 2.9 per cent to $41.9 billion in May, up from an April imbalance of $40.7 billion.

Imports fell 0.1 per cent to $230.5 billion. Exports slid at a faster pace of 0.8 per cent to $188.6 billion. American producers have been hurt this year by a rising value of the dollar, which makes U.S. goods less competitive in overseas markets.

Even with the slight rise in the deficit in May, the deficit over the past two months is averaging less than the first quarter. That should help boost growth in the second quarter.