Current Account Deficit Deepens

By John S. McClenahen During the first three months of this year, the U.S. current account, the broadest measure of the nation's international economic position, went deeper into deficit, the U.S. Commerce Department reported on June 18. The deficit for the January-through-March quarter was a record $144.9 billion, some $17.9 billion more than the $127 billion deficit in the fourth quarter of 2003. More than half of the increase was accounted for by an $11.4 billion increase in the goods deficit between the final quarter of last year and this year's first quarter. "If the trade gap does not improve in the coming quarters, the U.S. will have to import $2.2 billion in capital per working day to finance the current account deficit," says Jose Rasco, a senior economist at Merrill Lynch & Co., New York.

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