MONEY: Adding Up the Bill from OPEC Oil

Ever since the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries quintupled the price of oil, economists and bankers have expected the U.S. balance of payments deficit to grow steadily worse. And it has. Higher petroleum prices have drained increasingly large sums from the U.S. and produced ever bigger payments deficits since early last year All the same, last week's report of a record deficit in the final quarter of 1974 was a shocker. It dramatized the extent of the financial hemorrhaging that has hit the U.S. since OPEC boosted prices.

The $5.87 billion fourth-quarter deficit, which was more than 50% higher than...

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