U.S. current account narrows as soybeans boost exports

December 15, 2016 10:30 AM

The U.S. current account deficit fell in the third quarter as a jump in soybean shipments boosted exports, government data showed on Thursday.

The Commerce Department said the current account deficit, which measures the flow of goods, services and investments into and out of the country, fell to $113.0 billion from a downwardly revised $118.3 billion the second quarter.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the current account deficit declining to $111.6 billion from a previously reported $119.9 billion shortfall.

The third-quarter current account deficit represented 2.4 % of gross domestic product, down from 2.6 % in the second quarter. The current account deficit has dropped from a record high of 6.3 % of GDP in the fourth quarter of 2005 as rising domestic oil production and lower global oil prices keep the import bill in check.

Goods exports increased by $15.7 billion to $375.9 billion, boosted by soybean shipments.

In the third quarter, the surplus on primary income - which includes dividends - fell to $43.4 billion from $44.2 billion in the second quarter. The deficit on secondary income, worker remittances and grants increased to $39.9 billion from $37.7 billion in the second quarter.

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