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Current account deficit increases in first quarter

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WASHINGTON — Americans bought more expensive foreign oil in the first three months of the year, increasing the deficit in the broadest measure of foreign trade.

The deficit in the current account increased 6.3 percent to $119.3 billion in the January-to-March period, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. The increase reflected a big spike in global oil prices that sent petroleum imports surging. The increase in imports offset strong sales by American companies of autos, computers and heavy machinery in foreign markets.

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