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Economy in Brief

U.S. Current Account Deficit Deepens Slightly
by Tom Moeller  December 17, 2014

The U.S. current account deficit deepened in Q3'14 to $100.3 billion from $98.4 billion in Q2. The deficit shrank to 2.3% of GDP from 5.8% in 2006. The Action Economics Forecast Survey called for a Q3 deficit of $95.0 billion. Exports of goods, services and income slipped 0.3% (+4.0% y/y), while imports were little-changed (3.5% y/y).

The Q3 deficit on merchandise trade shrank to $182.1 billion but remained in the range of the last two years. Goods exports rose 1.3% (4.0% y/y) and imports of goods slipped 0.3% (+3.5% y/y).

The trade surplus on services dipped to $57.7 billion but remained just off its record. Services exports were unchanged (3.0% y/y). Travel exports edged 0.5% higher (3.1% y/y) but financial services exports fell 2.6% (+6.6% y/y). Imports of services gained 0.3% (3.6% y/y), as travel imports edged up 0.3% (8.2% y/y) and financial services were little-changed (4.9% y/y).

The surplus on primary income improved to a near-record $59.0 billion as receipts from abroad grew 2.3% (6.8% y/y) and payments to foreigners ticked up just 0.3% (4.0% y/y). The trade deficit on secondary income deteriorated to $34.9 billion.

From the financial account, private direct investment abroad of $93.7 billion was accompanied by $153.4 in portfolio investments. Direct investments from abroad totaled $65.4 billion and portfolio investments were $250.9 billion.

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 Q3'14 Q2'14 Q1'14 Y/Y 2013 2012 2011
Current Account Balance ($ Billion) -100.3 -98.4 -102.1 -101.3 -400.3 -460.8 -459.3
  Deficit % of GDP -2.3 -2.3 -2.4 -2.4% -2.4% -2.9% -3.0%
 Balance on Goods ($ Billion) -182.1 -189.3 -182.3 -177.9 -701.7 -742.1 -740.6
  Exports 1.3% 2.3% -1.9% 4.0% 2.0% 4.2% 16.2%
  Imports -0.3% 2.8% 1.0% 3.5% -0.4% 2.9% 15.5%
 Balance on Services ($ Billion) 57.7 58.1 57.8 3.0 225.3 204.5 192.0
  Exports 0.0% 1.8% 0.0% 3.0% 5.0% 4.3% 11.4%
  Imports 0.3% 2.5% -0.9% 3.6% 2.6% 3.4% 6.5%
 Balance on Primary Income ($ Billion) 59.0 54.8 52.4 51.5 199.7 203.0 221.0
 Balance on Secondary Income ($ Billion) -34.9 -22.0 -30.0 -31.6 -123.5 -126.1 -131.7
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