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Economy in Brief

U.S. Current Account Deficit Diminishes to 4-Year Low
by Carol Stone  September 19, 2013

The U.S. current account deficit decreased In Q2 to $98.9 billion from $104.9 billion in Q1. Q2 had the smallest such deficit since Q3 2009. It represents 2.4% of GDP, and that ratio is the smallest since Q2 1998, that is, 15 years ago. A consensus forecast did anticipate the smaller result this time, calling for $97 billion. Exports of goods and services grew just 1.1% in Q2 (+1.9% y/y), while imports of goods and services edged up just 0.2% and were down 1.1% y/y.

Goods exports rose 1.0% (+0.7% y/y). Services exports increased 1.2% (4.6% y/y). Travel exports gained 1.3% q/q (+9.5% y/y) but passenger fares fell 0.4% (+1.1% y/y). Imports of goods increased marginally in Q2 and were down 1.4% y/y. Service imports rose 0.9% (+0.6% y/y), as travel imports were up 1.5% (+1.4% y/y).

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 Q2'13 Q1'13 Q4'12 2012 2011 2010
Current Account Balance ($ Bil.) -98.9 -104.9 -102.3 -440.1 -457.7 -449.5
  Deficit % of GDP 2.8% 2.8% 3.0% 2.7% 2.9% 3.0%
 Balance on Goods ($ Bil.) -175.7 -179.5 -182.4 -741.5 -744.1 -650.2
  Exports -0.7% -0.2% 1.4% 4.4% 16.1% 20.5%
  Imports 0.0% -0.5% 0.4% 2.8% 15.5% 22.7%
 Balance on Services ($ Bil.) 57.9 56.8 55.0 206.8 187.3 150.8
  Exports 1.2% 0.0% 1.3% 5.2% 11.0% 9.2%
  Imports -0.9% -0.8% -0.3% 3.0% 6.1% 6.0%
 Balance on Income ($ Bil.) 53.1 50.9 57.0 223.9 232.6 177.7
Unilateral Transfers ($ Bil.) -34.2 -33.1 -31.9 -129.7 -133.5 -127.8
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