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U.S. current account deficit widens more than expected

In this Dec. 8, 2011 photo, a container ship is docked at the Port of Oakland in Oakland, Calif.

Paul Sakuma/Paul Sakuma/AP

The U.S. current account deficit widened much more than expected to $124.1-billion in the fourth quarter of 2011, as imports rose and exports dropped, a government report showed on Wednesday.

The Commerce Department said the current account deficit, which measures the flow of goods, services and investments into and out of the United States, widened to 3.24 per cent of gross domestic product. That compared to a revised third-quarter current account deficit of $107.6-billion, or 2.84 per cent of GDP.

The current account gap for all of 2011 was 3.1 per cent of GDP, down slightly from 3.2 per cent in 2010.

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Analysts polled by Reuters before the report had expected the current account gap to widen to $114.2-billion.

The U.S. trade gap widened to $141.1-billion in the fourth quarter, helping to widen the current account deficit.

In addition, the U.S. surplus on income flows declined to $50.3-billion, the department said.

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