How the Shale Boom Has Kept the U.S. Afloat

Bloomberg | Justin Fox

Shale oil production is having a positive impact on U.S. trade balance.

The U.S. current account deficit grew a bit at the end of last year, to $128.2 billion in the fourth quarter from $101.5 billion in the third quarter, according to data released today by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. That amounts to 2.6 percent of gross domestic product, which from the perspective of the past 15 years or so isn’t all that big. But the oil and gas trade balance, which was 4.1 percent of GDP in the fourth quarter of 2004, is rapidly nearing zero, and all indications are that it will turn positive soon.

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