WASHINGTON: The US trade deficit widened more than expected in February as a rebound in exports was offset by an increase in imports, the latest indication that economic growth remained weak in the first quarter.

The Commerce Department said on Tuesday the trade gap increased 2.6 per cent to $47.1 billion. When adjusted for inflation, the deficit rose to $63.3 billion, the largest since March last year, from $61.8 billion in January.

The report joined data on consumer and business spending in suggesting economic growth moderated further in the first quarter after slowing to a 1.4 per cent annualised rate in final three months of 2015.