Led largely by an increase in the deficit on goods, the imbalance in the U.S. current account rose in the fourth quarter to $115.6 billion from a revised $102.3 billion in the third quarter, the Commerce Department reported yesterday.
While goods exports increased 8.8% to $285.9 billion in the fourth quarter — as major end-use categories like automotive vehicles, parts, and engines increased strongly — an increase in goods imports was even more pronounced, rising 9.3% to $432.4 billion.
The increase in the current account deficit was below economists’ expectations. Thomson Reuters’ median poll of economists predicted a $119.0 billion deficit for the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, the third-quarter $102.3 billion current account deficit was downwardly revised from an originally reported $108.0 billion deficit.