Current account (balance of payments)

In economics, a country's current account records the value of exports and imports of both goods and services and international transfers of capital. It is one of the three components of its balance of payments, the others being the capital account and the financial account. Current account measures the nation's earnings and spendings abroad and it consists of the balance of trade, net primary income or factor income (earnings on foreign investments minus payments made to foreign investors) and net unilateral transfers, that have taken place over a given period of time. The current account balance is one of two major measures of a country's foreign trade (the other being the net capital outflow). A current account surplus indicates that the value of a country's net foreign assets (i.e. assets less liabilities) grew over the period in question, and a current account deficit indicates that it shrank. Both government and private payments are included in the calculation. It is called the current account because goods and services are generally consumed in the current period.[1][2]

Cumulative current account balance 1980–2008 (US$ billions) based on the International Monetary Fund data