Capital account

In macroeconomics and international finance, the capital account records the net flow of investment transaction into an economy. It is one of the two primary components of the balance of payments, the other being the current account. Whereas the current account reflects a nation's net income, the capital account reflects net change in ownership of national assets.

A surplus in the capital account means money is flowing into the country, but unlike a surplus in the current account, the inbound flows effectively represent borrowings or sales of assets rather than payment for work. A deficit in the capital account means money is flowing out of the country, and it suggests the nation is increasing its ownership of foreign assets.

The term "capital account" is used with a narrower meaning by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and affiliated sources. The IMF splits what the rest of the world calls the capital account into two top-level divisions: financial account and capital account, with by far the bulk of the transactions being recorded in its financial account.