December's trade gap was revised from $38.5 billion to $38.1 billion, the bureau said.
Exports in January fell by $2.2 billion from December's export total of $186.6 billion. Imports for the month rose by $4.1 billion from December's $224.8 billion.
Economists had predicted slightly better results with a forecast that called for a deficit of $43 billion on the month.
Among major trading partners, the trade gap with China rose from $24.5 billion to $27.8 billion in January.
With the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries the trade gap rose from $3.4 billion to $6.4 billion. With the European Union, the trade deficit came in slightly lower at $8.6 billion after a gap of $8.7 billion in December.
The trade deficit with Japan rose from $5.7 billion to $6.1 billion, the bureau said.