September 19, 2017 / 12:40 PM / 2 years ago

U.S. current account widens sharply in second quarter

A U.S. Dollar note is seen in this June 22, 2017 illustration photo. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. current account deficit jumped to its highest level since 2008 in the second quarter amid a decline in both secondary and primary income.

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, increased to $123.1 billion from a downwardly revised $113.5 billion in the first quarter.

That was the highest level since the fourth quarter of 2008. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the current account deficit slipping to $115.1 billion from a previously reported $116.8 billion shortfall.

The second-quarter current account deficit represented 2.6

percent of gross domestic product, the largest since the first quarter of 2016, up from 2.4 percent in the first 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.

In the second quarter, the surplus on primary income - which

includes investment income such as dividends, and employee compensation - decreased by $2.9 billion.

The deficit on secondary income, U.S. government grants, pensions, fines and penalties, and worker remittances surged by $7.5 billion in the second quarter.

Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci

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