The U.S. trade deficit widened 13.3% to $US39.1 billion in July.
Economists expected it to have expanded to $US38.6 billion.
The trade gap with China widened to a record $US30.1 billion from $US26.6 billion.
The $US13.9 billion deficit with the European Union was also the highest ever.
“The global economy showed signs of recovery in July, with business confidence and activity data surprising on the upside in both the euro area and in China,” wrote the economists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch before the report.