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Economy in Brief

U.S. Current Account Deficit Improves 
by Tom Moeller  September 18, 2012

The U.S. current account deficit lessened last quarter to $117.4B from $133.6B in Q1. The easing left the deficit to GDP ratio at 3.0%, roughly the same as in 2011 and 2010. Total exports grew another 1.2% led by a 1.4% (5.9% y/y) advance in goods exports. Total imports fell 1.0% (+2.8% y/y) paced by a 0.5% (+3.7% y/y) drop in merchandise imports. Services exports rose 0.9% (3.4% y/y) as travel exports increased 1.2% (6.8% y/y). Imports of services advanced 0.8% (4.0% y/y). Travel imports grew 0.7% (9.0% y/y).  

From the capital account, $118.7B was withdrawn by foreigners on investment in the U.S. versus $193.4B in payments to the U.S. on investment abroad. The imbalance largely reflects foreign ownership of U.S. financial assets. Payments to foreigners on direct investment in the U.S. totaled $334.8B while payments on U.S. direct investment abroad were $79.2B.

Balance of Payments data are in Haver's USINT database, with summaries available in USECON. The expectations figure is in the AS1REPNA database.

Uncertainty, Unemployment, and Inflation from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco is available here.

 

 

US Balance of Payments SA Q2'12 Q1'12 Q4'11 Year Ago 2011 2010 2009
Current Account Balance ($Bil.) -117.4 -133.6 -118.7 -119.1 -465.9 -442.0 -382.0
  Deficit % of GDP 3.0% 3.5% 3.1% 3.2% 3.1% 3.1% 2.7%
 Balance on Goods ($Bil.) -185.8 -194.3 -189.3 -187.2 -738.4 -645.1 -505.8
  Exports 1.4% 1.7% 0.0% 5.9% 16.2% 20.5% -18.2%
  Imports -0.5% 2.0% 1.5% 3.7% 15.6% 22.8% -26.3%
 Balance on Services ($Bil.) 46.5 45.9 43.0 45.6 178.5 150.4 126.6
  Exports 0.9% 3.0% -2.7% 3.4% 9.5% 8.7% -4.9%
  Imports 0.8% 1.4% -1.2% 4.0% 6.0% 5.4% -5.2%
Unilateral Transfers ($Bil.) -33.6 -32.7 -32.2 -33.8 -133.1 -131.1 -122.5
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