The U.S. trade deficit grew by 8 percent in September to $41.78 billion, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

During that month, imports grew by 1.2 percent to $230.68 billion and exports fell by 0.2 percent to $188.9 billion.

The majority of analysts had calculated that the trade deficit would be about $39.7 billion in September.

The government figures show that in September the United States imported more cellphones and that imports of automotive vehicles made abroad reached a record level.

The U.S. deficit in its trade with China increased slightly in September, reaching the monthly record of $30.5 billion, and Washington's deficit with the European Union fell to $8 billion.

Between January and September, the U.S. trade deficit amounted to a cumulative total of $359.54 billion compared with $407.27 billion in the first nine months of 2012. EFE