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US Trade Deficit Hits $61 Billion

The U.S. trade deficit surged to a record $61 billion in February.

The deficit is the gap between what the United States buys from foreigners and what Americans sell abroad.

Tuesday's report from the Commerce Department says the deficit was widened by the rising price of imported oil and Chinese textiles flooding the U.S. market after the end of textile quotas.

Experts say the United States has to attract foreign financing to cover the gap between imports and exports. Economists say the deficit could trigger a decline in U.S. stocks and a rise in interest rates if foreigners decide to cut their dollar-denominated investments like stocks and bonds.

The surging trade deficit is also increasing political pressure in the U.S. Congress to enact protectionist measures.

Some information for this report provided by Bloomberg, AFP, AP and Reuters.