Business Briefs – August 7, 2016

U.S. Trade Deficit Hits $44.5 Billion, Biggest in 10 Months

WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. trade deficit increased to the highest point in 10 months, driven up by a big rise in imports of oil and Chinese-made computers, cellphones and clothing.

The deficit rose to $44.5 billion in June, 8.7 percent higher than a revised May deficit of $41 billion, the Commerce Department reported on Friday. It was the biggest gap between what America sells abroad and what the country imports since a $44.6 billion deficit last August.

Exports, which have struggled this year because of the strong dollar and global weakness, edged up 0.3 percent to $183.2 billion. Imports rose a faster 1.9 percent to $227.7 billion, led by a 19.4 percent jump in petroleum imports.

Consumer Borrowing Slows To $12.3 Billion Gain in June

WASHINGTON (AP) – Consumers increased their borrowing in June but at the slowest pace in 17 months as auto and student loans registered the slowest growth in nearly five years.

The Federal Reserve said Friday that total borrowing rose by $12.3 billion in June, down sharply from an increase of $17.9 billion in May. That was the smallest monthly gain since January 2015.

The slowdown in borrowing came from a big decrease in the growth of auto and student loans, which rose by just $4.6 billion in June, the weakest monthly performance since this loan category declined in August 2011.

Berkshire Hathaway Profit Jumps 25 Percent

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the company led by Warren Buffett, said Friday that its second-quarter profit jumped 25 percent from a year ago as revenue from its insurance and financial products businesses grew.

The conglomerate reported net income of $5 billion, or $3,042 per Class A share, in the quarter, compared with $4 billion, or $2,442, per Class A share, in the same quarter a year before. Earnings, adjusted for investment gains, came to $2,803 per share.

Total revenue rose 6 percent to $54.46 billion in the period.