U.S. cur­rent ac­count trade deficit nar­rows

Broad cur­rent ac­count tracks sales be­tween na­tions as well as in­vest­ment flows.

Austin American-Statesman - - BUSINESS -

WASHINGTON — The U.S. cur­rent ac­count trade deficit nar­rowed in the July-Septem­ber quar­ter to the small­est level since late 2010, but the im­prove­ment may not last.

The deficit fell to $107.5 bil­lion in the third quar­ter, down 9 per­cent from the sec­ond quar­ter im­bal­ance of $118.1 bil­lion, the Com­merce De­part­ment re­ported Tues­day. It was the low­est trade gap since the fi­nal three months of 2010.

The cur­rent ac­count is the broad­est mea­sure of trade. It tracks the sale of mer­chan­dise and ser­vices be­tween na­tions as well as in­vest­ment flows. Econ­o­mists watch the cur­rent ac­count as a sign of how much the United States needs to bor­row from for­eign­ers.

Many econ­o­mists pre­dict the deficit will widen in coming quar­ters, in part be­cause a global slow­down is damp­en­ing de­mand for Amer­i­can ex­ports.

On Wall Street on Tues­day, stocks climbed, push­ing the Stan­dard and Poor’s 500 to its high­est level in two months, on op­ti­mism that law­mak­ers are clos­ing in on a bud­get deal that will stop the U.S. from go­ing over the “fis­cal cliff” at the be­gin­ning of next year.

The Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age rose 115 points to 13,350, its big­gest one-day gain in al­most a month. The Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 rose 16 points to 1,446, its high­est close since Oct. 18. The Nas­daq com­pos­ite rose 43 points to 3,054.

A debt cri­sis has pushed

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