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Even as they spoke, the government reported that the broadest measure of the U.S. trade deficit with the rest of the world surged by 13 percent in the spring quarter as a result of a jump in Chinese imports that pushed up overall imports by the highest amount in nearly 30 years.

At the same time, the Treasury reported that demand for U.S. securities from foreign investors remains strong, enabling the U.S. to easily finance its huge trade deficits. Purchases of long-term U.S. securities by foreigners rose by $61.2 billion in July.