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Economy in Brief

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

The U.S. current account deficit lessened last quarter to $107.5B from $118.1B in Q2. The easing left the deficit to GDP ratio at 2.7%, its least in roughly three years. Total exports gained 0.2% (1.7% y/y) although goods exports slipped 0.2% (+2.9% y/y). Total imports fell 1.3% (+1.2y/y) paced by a 2.2% (+0.8% y/y) drop in merchandise imports. Services exports rose 1.0% (2.5% y/y) as travel exports gained 0.9% (7.9% y/y). Imports of services advanced a lesser 0.4% (0.3% y/y). Travel imports grew 0.7% (4.2% y/y).

From the capital account, $34.2B was withdrawn by foreigners on direct investment in the U.S. versus $101.4B in payments to the U.S. on direct investment abroad.

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

US Balance of Payments SA Q3'12 Q2'12 Q1'12 Year Ago 2011 2010 2009
Current Account Balance ($ Bil.) -107.5 -118.1 -133.6 -108.2 -465.9 -442.0 -382.0
  Deficit % of GDP 2.7% 3.0% 3.5% 3.2% 3.1% 3.1% 2.7%
 Balance on Goods ($Bil.) -173.9 -185.7 -194.3 -180.6 -738.4 -645.1 -505.8
  Exports -0.2% 1.4% 1.7% 2.9% 16.2% 20.5% -18.2%
  Imports -2.2% -0.5% 2.0% 0.8% 15.6% 22.8% -26.3%
 Balance on Services ($Bil.) 49.4 48.3 45.9 45.6 178.5 150.4 126.6
  Exports 1.0% 1.3% 3.0% 2.5% 9.5% 8.7% -4.9%
  Imports 0.4% -0.3% 1.4% 0.3% 6.0% 5.4% -5.2%
Unilateral Transfers ($Bil.) -33.8 -32.7 -32.7 -31.8 -133.1 -131.1 -122.5
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