U.S. Current-Account Deficit Widened in First Quarter

By Sarah Chaney and Ben LeubsdorfFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

The U.S. current-account deficit, a measure of trade and financial flows with foreign countries, widened to $116.78 billion in the first quarter.

The $2.8 billion widening from the fourth quarter reflected an increase in the goods-trade deficit and a decrease in the primary-income surplus, offset in part by a smaller deficit for secondary income, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.

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Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a larger deficit of $122.30 billion for the first quarter.

The deficit was 2.5% of current-dollar gross domestic product last quarter, up from 2.4% in the fourth quarter.

The current account tracks movements of goods and services across borders, as well as income flows from investments and various other transfers such as remittances. The U.S. has run persistent trade deficits for decades by importing more than it exports.

Tuesday's report also contained revisions going back several years, based on new data and other factors.

The Commerce Department report can be found at www.bea.gov/newsreleases/rels.htm.

Write to Sarah Chaney at sarah.chaney@wsj.com and Ben Leubsdorf at ben.leubsdorf@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 20, 2017 08:45 ET (12:45 GMT)