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US Trade Deficit Grows as Imports Rise

New data show the U.S. trade deficit grew slightly in June as imports rose for the first time in 11 months.

The U.S. Commerce Department says the deficit reached $27 billion in June, up from $26 billion in May.

The increase reflects a 2.3 percent jump in U.S. imports of goods and services in June - the biggest increase this year. U.S. exports rose 2 percent in the same month.

A trade deficit occurs when a country imports more than it exports. The widening U.S. deficit indicates increased demand by American consumers - a sign the recession is starting to ease.

The U.S. central bank, known as the Federal Reserve, is wrapping up a two-day meeting on the economic situation.

Officials are scheduled to publish their closely-watched economic assessment Wednesday afternoon, Washington time.