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Economy in Brief

U.S. Current Account Deficit Shrinks
by Tom Moeller  September 17, 2015

The current account deficit of $109.7 billion in Q2 eased from $118.3 billion in Q1 and compared to $92.0 billion in Q2'14. The data are seasonally adjusted. The deficit in goods trade eased and the services surplus grew The surplus on primary income grew and the deficit in secondary income narrowed. The current account deficit reading was more favorable than the deficit of $111.2 billion expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

The deficit on goods of $188.4 billion in Q2 narrowed from $192.2 billion in Q1. Exports improved 0.5% (-6.0% y/y) while imports eased 0.3% (-4.0% y/y). The deficit was little-changed from a year ago.

The trade surplus on services increased to $58.4 billion from a revised $57.9 billion in Q1. It also has been meandering sideways for a year. Exports of services gained 0.6% (0.7% y/y), while imports of services edged up 0.5% (1.9% y/y).

The surplus on primary income recovered to $50.6 billion in Q2 from a lessened $49.7 billion in Q1. It shrank, however, from $57.9 billion a year earlier. The balance on direct investment income recovered to $41.2 billion; the portfolio income surplus expanded.

From the financial account, private direct investment abroad amounted to 101.1billion in Q2 after its plunge to $67.4 billion in Q1. Portfolio investment declined to $166.3 billion after surging to a record $233.5 billion in Q1.

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* Q2'15 Q1'15 Q4'14 Y/Y 2014 2013 2012
Current Account Balance ($ Billion) -109.7 -118.3 -103.1 -92.0 -389.5 -376.8 -449.7
  Deficit % of GDP -2.5 -2.7 -2.3 -2.1 -2.2 -2.2 -2.8
 Balance on Goods ($ Billion) -188.4 -192.2 -186.0 -188.1 -741.5 -702.6 -741.1
  Exports 0.5% -6.4% -0.9% -6.0% 2.5% 1.9% 4.2%
  Imports -0.3% -3.4% -0.2% -4.0% 3.5% -0.4% 2.9%
 Balance on Services ($ Billion) 58.4 57.9 57.6 59.4 233.1 224.2 204.4
  Exports 0.6% -0.5% 2.0% 0.7% 3.3% 4.8% 4.6%
  Imports 0.5% -1.0% 2.6% 1.9% 3.0% 2.6% 3.7%
 Balance on Primary Income ($ Billion) 50.6 49.7 60.0 57.9 238.0 224.5 212.2
 Balance on Secondary Income ($ Billion) -30.3 -33.8 -34.8 -21.3 -119.2 -122.9 -125.1
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