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by Tom Moeller March 21, 2017
The U.S. current account deficit declined to $112.4 billion during last year's fourth quarter from $116.0 billion in Q3'16. The Q4 deficit figure compared to $128.2 billion expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The latest quarterly deficit was the smallest since Q2'15. For all of last year, the deficit increased to $481.2 billion from $463.0 billion in 2015. As a percent of GDP, the deficit last quarter of 2.4% was less than half the size in late 2006.
The narrowing in the deficit last quarter was due primarily to a near record trade surplus on primary income of $61.5 billion. The deficit on secondary income was stable q/q, but has trended lower. In addition, the surplus on services trade increased to $63.8 billion as exports rose 1.0% and imports increased 0.4%. Nevertheless, the surplus on services trade for the year eased to $249.4 billion as imports rose 2.9% and exports remained little changed. The balance on merchandise trade deepened last quarter to $196.1 billion. Exports eased 0.9% (+1.8% y/y) and imports strengthened 2.5% (2.6% y/y) as oil prices increased. For the year, the merchandise trade deficit eased to $$749.9 billion, its smallest since 2013.
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||Q4'16||Q3'16||Q2'16||Q4'15||2016||2015||2014|
|Current Account Balance ($ Billion)||-112.4||- 116.0||-119.7||-113.4||-481.2||-463.0||-392.1|
|Deficit % of GDP||2.4||2.5||2.6||2.5||2.6||2.6||2.3|
|Balance on Goods ($ Billion)||-196.1||-178.7||-187.7||-188.4||-749.9||-762.6||-752.2|
|Balance on Services ($ Billion)||63.8||62.4||62.0||64.2||249.4||262.2||262.0|
|Balance on Primary Income ($ Billion)||61.5||41.6||43.8||47.1||180.6||182.4||224.0|
|Balance on Secondary Income ($ Billion)||-41.5||-41.4||-37.7||-36.3||-161.2||-145.0||-125.9|