U.S. Current Account Deficit Hits $192.6 Billion

Oil accounted for increase in imports.

The U.S. current account deficit, the broadest measure of trade and investment flows, rose to $192.6 billion in the first quarter of 2007, the government said June 15. The latest figure was better than market forecasts of a deficit of $202 billion and suggested some easing of balance of payments.

In the January-March quarter, the report showed an increase in transfers of funds to foreigners and the trade deficit on goods increased a small amount.The increases were partly offset by small rises in the surpluses on services and on income.

For goods and services, the U.S. deficit was virtually unchanged from the prior quarter at $176.8 billion.

Goods exports rose to $270.1 billion from $266.5 billion while imports increased to $471 billion from $466.8 billion. Much of the rise was accounted for oil and related products, the report said.

The economy posted a surplus of $24.1 billion in the first quarter, up from $23.4 billion in the fourth, helped by business, professional, and technical and financial services as well as insurance.

On the investment side, income on U.S.-owned assets abroad increased to $176.8 billion from $172.3 billion while income payments on foreign-owned assets in the U.S. increased to $164.8 billion from $161 billion. Meanwhile transfers of money to foreigners rose sharply to $26.1 billion from $20.7 billion. Much of this was accounted for in U.S. government grants, mostly to the Middle East, and in private remittances.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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