WASHINGTON – The deficit in the broadest measure of U.S. trade increased in the January-March quarter to the highest level since the spring of 2012 as American exports to the rest of the world declined.
The Commerce Department said Thursday that the deficit in the current account increased to $113.3 billion in the first quarter, up 9.9 percent from a fourth quarter deficit of $103.1 billion. It was the largest imbalance since a $118 billion deficit in the second quarter of 2012.
The current account tracks not only trade in goods and services but also investment flows. For the first quarter, the trade deficit increased as exports of goods fell to $382.7 billion from $409.1 billion. Part of that decline reflected falling oil prices.