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.