The U.S. current account gap
The U.S. current account gap widened to a bigger than expected to $124.8 in Q3, after a Q2 drop to $101.2 (was $101.5) B from a similar $121.7 B in Q1. The rebound in the deficit reflected a drop in exports after a Q2 surge, alongside steady growth for imports. Analysts expect the current account gap to sit in the $123 B area in Q4, with modest gains in both exports and imports. For the annual figures, analysts expect a widening in the current account deficit to $471 B in 2018 from gaps of $449 B in 2017, $433 B in 2016 and $408 B in 2015, versus an $806 B record-high gap in 2006. The current account gap has been on a gradual widening path since 2015, though the gap should remain well below the $215.8 B all-time high in Q3 of 2006 -- when petroleum imports averaged $27.6 B per month and petroleum exports averaged just $3.2 B, leaving a whopping $24.4 B monthly deficit in petroleum. This gap has narrowed rapidly to just $5.3 B in Q3, when petroleum imports averaged $20.3 B per month and petroleum exports averaged $15.1 B. Soaring U.S. shale oil output should eliminate the petroleum gap by 2020, hence capping deterioration in the current account deficit overall.