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Economy in Brief

U.S. Current Account Deficit Deepens Sharply
by Tom Moeller  September 19, 2017

The U.S. current account deficit of $123.1 billion during Q2 2017 was the deepest since Q4 2008. The Q2 deficit figure compared to $112.6 billion expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. As a percent of GDP, the deficit of 2.6% was fairly stable compared to the prior three years.

The deeper deficit last quarter was due to an increased $201.4 billion deficit on goods trade, its largest since Q3'08. Goods exports eased 0.2%, but imports of goods rose held steady (6.9% y/y). The surplus on services trade increased to $64.1 billion, though that remained smaller than the Q2'14 peak of $65.8 billion. Services exports improved 1.7% while services imports gained 1.2% (5.6% y/y). The surplus on primary income fell to $47.2 billion, down from the Q4'11 peak of $59.6 billion. The deficit on secondary income deepened to a record $33.0 billion.

From the capital account, the surplus on foreign direct investment shrank to $99.5 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 Q2'17 Q1'17 Q4'16 Q2'16 2016 2015 2014
Current Account Balance ($ Billion) -123.1 -113.5 -114.0 -108.2 -451.7 -434.6 -373.8
  Deficit % of GDP -2.6 -2.4 -2.4 -2.3 -2.4 -2.3 2.3
 Balance on Goods ($ Billion) -201.4 -200.6 -195.1 -186.4 -752.5 -761.9 -751.5
  Exports -0.2% 3.6% -0.1% 1.9% -3.6% -7.5% 2.6%
  Imports 0.0% 3.3% 2.0% 1.0% -2.8% -4.7% 4.0%
 Balance on Services ($ Billion) 64.1 62.5 61.0 62.7 247.7 261.4 261.2
  Exports 1.7% 1.7% -0.2% -0.9% -0.1% 1.5% 5.8%
  Imports 1.2% 1.3% 0.9% 0.5% 2.6% 2.3% 4.3%
 Balance on Primary Income ($ Billion) 47.2 50.1 51.3 42.7 173.2 181.0 210.8
 Balance on Secondary Income ($ Billion) -33.0 -25.5 -31.3 -27.2 -120.1 -115.1 -94.2
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