The U.S. current account deficit widened to a more than seven-year high in the first quarter as goods exports fell and investment from abroad declined.
The Commerce Department said on Thursday the current account deficit, which measures the flow of goods, services and investments into and out of the country, increased 9.9 percent to $124.67 billion, the largest since the fourth quarter of 2008. The fourth-quarter deficit was revised to $113.4 billion from the previously reported $125.3 billion.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the current account deficit little changed at $125.0 billion.
The first-quarter current account deficit represented 2.7 percent of gross domestic product, up from 2.5 percent in the final three months of 2015.
The current account deficit has declined from a record high of 6.3 percent of GDP in the fourth quarter of 2005, as rising domestic oil production and lower international oil prices keep the import bill in check.
In the first quarter, the surplus on primary income – which includes dividends – fell $9.6 billion to $37.5 billion. The deficit on secondary income, worker remittances and grants, rose $4.0 billion to $40.3 billion.
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