1st qtr U.S. current account deficit expands 3.7% to $106.15 bil.

The United States posted a current account deficit of $106.15 billion for the January-March quarter, up 3.7 percent from the previous three-month period and the first increase in four quarters, due mainly to a sharp fall in the income surplus, Commerce Department data showed Friday.

The deficit in the current account -- the broadest measure of trade in goods and services plus investment income flows -- accounted for 2.7 percent of the nation's gross domestic product, up from 2.6 percent in the October-December period, the department said in a preliminary report.

The shortfall in the current account represents money that the United States has to borrow overseas to pay for the goods and services it imports and to finance investment not covered by U.S. savings.

The goods and services trade logged a deficit of $123.66 billion, down 2.9 percent from the previous quarter and the smallest since the final quarter of 2010, on relatively strong exports and a fall in imports of pricy fuel oil.

The deficit in goods trade dipped 1.8 percent to $179.14 billion, while the service trade surplus expanded 0.8 percent to $55.48 billion.

The income balance -- the earnings Americans receive on their overseas investments minus the earnings foreigners receive on U.S. investments -- posted a deficit of $51.98 billion, down 8.8 percent from the fourth quarter of 2012.

In a separate financial account, net foreign-owned assets in the United States expanded $295.54 billion in the first quarter of 2013, following revised growth of $242.40 billion the previous quarter.

The net value of U.S.-owned assets abroad increased $218.76 billion in the first quarter, compared with a revised expansion of $116.0 billion in the October-December period.