BIGGER TRADE GAP: The U.S. trade deficit widened to $45 billion in May, up 12.1 percent from April and its highest level since November as a sluggish global economy depressed U.S. exports.

BIGGER TRADE GAP: The U.S. trade deficit widened to $45 billion in May, up 12.1 percent from April and its highest level since November as a sluggish global economy depressed U.S. exports.

THE DETAILS: Exports slipped 0.3 percent to $187.1 billion. Sales of American farm products dropped to their lowest point in over two years. Imports rose 1.9 percent to $232.1 billion. Imports of autos and nonpetroleum products hit an all-time high.

THE OUTLOOK: A trade gap can restrain economic growth because it means consumers and businesses are spending more on foreign goods than companies are taking in from overseas sales.