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Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, increasing positive balances on the services account provided a substantial offset to negative balances in merchandise trade, and, consequently, the cumulative current balance was a positive $3.8 billion for the period 1970-80. Since 1981, the progressively smaller balances in services have been insufficient to offset the increasingly negative merchandise trade balances. Table 1-1 shows the deterioration in U.S. international accounts during this period.

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