(BLOOMBERG) — The U.S. trade deficit widened in October to a nine-month high on record imports that reflect steady domestic demand, Commerce Department data showed Tuesday.

The surge in imports probably reflected merchants preparing for the holiday-shopping season. Consumer goods imports increased almost $800 million, including a $303 million gain in cell phones and other household goods, as well as more inbound shipments of furniture, appliances, toys and clothing.

The shortfall in goods and services trade, if sustained, may weigh on economic growth in the fourth quarter after net exports added 0.43 percentage point to gross domestic product in the previous three-month period.

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