USA: Current account, percent of GDP

(measure: percent; source: The World Bank)

USA: Current account balance as percent of GDP

: For that indicator, The World Bank provides data for the USA from 1970 to 2016. The average value for the USA during that period was -2.04 percent with a minumum of -5.82 percent in 2006 and a maximum of 1.06 percent in 1975. See the global rankings for that indicator or use the country comparator to compare trends over time.
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The current account of the USA and other countries has three components: 1) the exports of goods and services minus the imports of goods and services; 2) the difference of incomes that countries pay to each other; and 3) the difference in transfers that countries make to each other. Current account deficits are reported with a minus sign and surpluses are reported with a plus sign.

A current account deficit means that the country needs to find financing for its imports. The foreign currencies it receives from selling products abroad are not enough to pay for the products it wants to buy from other countries. The needed amounts of foreign currencies can be obtained by, for example, borrowing. For instance, in the last several years the U.S. has been borrowing money from China in order to buy Chinese products.

This is not necessarily a problem. The current account deficit starts to be a problem if it exceeds 3-4 percent of GDP for many years. Over that time, the country accumulates a significant amount of foreign debt that eventually has to be repaid.

Definition: Current account balance is the sum of net exports of goods and services, net primary income, and net secondary income.