June 20, 2017 / 12:40 PM / 2 months ago

U.S. current account deficit widens to 2.5 percent of GDP

FILE PHOTO: Crude oil storage tanks are seen from above at the Cushing oil hub, appearing to run out of space to contain a historic supply glut that has hammered prices, in Cushing, Oklahoma, March 24, 2016.Nick Oxford/File Photo

WASHINGTON, June 20 (Reuters) - The U.S. current account deficit widened slightly in the first quarter, as the country imported more crude oil, car parts and supplies for its factories.

The Commerce Department said on Tuesday the current account deficit, which measures the flow of goods, services and investments into and out of the country, expanded by 2.4 percent to $116.8 billion.

The current account deficit for the fourth quarter was revised up to $114.0 billion from the previously reported $112.4 billion. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the deficit rising to $123.8 billion in the first quarter.

The first-quarter current account deficit represented 2.5 percent of gross domestic product, up from 2.4 percent in the fourth quarter.

The current account deficit has dropped from a record high of 6.3 percent of GDP in the fourth quarter of 2005 as rising domestic oil production and lower global oil prices curbed the import bill.

The deficit on goods widened by $5.3 billion to $200.3 billion in the first quarter. Imports of goods rose 3.3 percent

The surplus on primary income - which includes investment income such as dividends, and employee compensation - fell by $3.6 billion. Primary income receipts increased $3.5 billion to $216.5 billion.

The deficit on secondary income, U.S. government grants, pensions, fines and penalties, and worker remittances fell to $25.5 billion from $31.3 billion in the fourth quarter.

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