'87 Trade Deficit $159 Billion

United Press International

The U.S. trade deficit was $40.2 billion in the fourth quarter when figured on a balance of payments basis, bringing to a record $159.3 billion the trade shortfall for 1987, the government said today.

The fourth quarter imbalance was a slight improvement from the revised $40.4 billion deficit in the third quarter, according to the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis. The third-quarter deficit was a record high. The balance of payments trade report is a seasonally adjusted estimate, unlike the monthly trade report, and it reflects updated information, makes adjustments for inland freight charges and internal gold transfers and excludes military goods and services.

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