WASHINGTON – Large increases in exports and overseas investment income narrowed the U.S. current account deficit to the lowest level in 14 years in the October-December quarter.
The Commerce Department says the imbalance fell to $81.1 billion in the fourth quarter, down from $96.4 billion in the July-September quarter. That's the smallest gap since the third quarter of 1999.
The rise in goods exports was driven by petroleum and agricultural products.
The current account is the country's broadest measure of trade, covering not only goods and services but also investment flows. A smaller trade deficit usually means that U.S. companies are producing more to meet domestic and overseas demand.
U.S. exports of goods and services rose 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter from the third, while overseas investment income rose 4.3 percent.