The U.S. current account deficit widened less than expected to $115.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2009, largely driven by the swelling U.S. trade deficit, a Commerce Department report showed on Thursday.

The current account gap rose from a downwardly revised $102.3 billion in the third quarter. Analysts had expected the fourth quarter deficit to widen to $119 billion.

The fourth quarter deficit equaled 3.2 percent of gross domestic product, up from 2.9 percent in the July-September period.

The current account deficit for all of 2009 narrowed to $419.9 billion, the smallest since 2001. It equaled 2.9 percent of GDP, down from 4.9 percent in 2008.

(Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)