2015: U.S. DEFICIT UP
The Year 2015
The U.S. current-account deficit increased to $484.1 billion (preliminary) in 2015 from $389.5 billion in 2014. The deficit was 2.7 percent of current-dollar GDP in 2015, up from 2.2 percent in 2014.
Goods and services
The deficit on goods and services increased to $539.8 billion in 2015 from $508.3 billion in 2014.
The deficit on goods increased to $759.3 billion in 2015 from $741.5 billion in 2014.
Goods exports decreased to $1,513.5 billion from $1,632.6 billion, the first decrease since 2009. The largest decrease—which accounted for more than two-thirds of the total decrease in goods exports—was in industrial supplies and materials. The decrease was mainly due to a decrease in petroleum and products. Goods imports decreased to $2,272.8 billion from $2,374.1 billion. A decrease in industrial supplies and materials was partly offset by increases in the other five major general-merchandise end-use categories. The decrease in industrial supplies and materials largely reflected a decrease in imports of petroleum and products. The largest increase was in consumer goods except food and automotive, followed by automotive vehicles, parts, and engines. Much of the increase in consumer goods except food and automotive was in nondurable goods, mainly medicinal, dental, and pharmaceutical products.
The surplus on services decreased to $219.6 billion in 2015 from $233.1 billion in 2014.
Services exports decreased to $710.2 billion from $710.6 billion. The largest decreases were in transport and in charges for the use of intellectual property. The decrease in transport was more than accounted for by a decrease in air transport. The largest increase was in other business services, primarily in professional and management consulting services.
Services imports increased to $490.6 billion from $477.4 billion. The largest increase was in travel (for all purposes including education), specifically in personal travel. The largest decrease was in charges for the use of intellectual property, primarily in charges for the use of industrial processes.
The surplus on primary income decreased to $191.3 billion in 2015 from $238.0 billion in 2014.
Investment income Income receipts from foreigners on U.S. holdings of financial assets abroad decreased to $776.0 billion from $816.4 billion. The decrease was more than accounted for by a decrease in direct investment income, which reflected a decrease in earnings of foreign affiliates of U.S. parent companies. Portfolio investment income receipts increased, partly offsetting the decrease in direct investment income receipts. The increase in portfolio investment income receipts was accounted for by increases in income on equity and investment fund shares and in interest on debt securities.
Income payments to foreigners on U.S. liabilities increased to $574.5 billion from $569.0 billion.
The increase primarily reflected an increase in portfolio investment income payments, both interest on debt securities and income on equity and investment fund shares.
Direct investment income payments decreased.
Compensation of employees
Receipts for compensation of U.S. residents paid by nonresidents increased to $7.1 billion from $6.9 billion. Payments for compensation of foreign residents paid by U.S. residents increased to $17.3 billion from $16.3 billion.
Secondary income (current transfers)
The deficit on secondary income increased to $135.6 billion in 2015 from $119.2 billion in 2014. Secondary income receipts decreased to $132.0 billion from $140.0 billion; the decrease was more than accounted for by a decrease in transfers to the U.S. government, primarily fines and penalties paid by foreign residents.
Secondary income payments increased to $267.6 billion from $259.2 billion; the increase was primarily accounted for by an increase in private transfers, primarily insurance-related transfers.
Net U.S. borrowing measured by financial-account transactions was $209.2 billion in 2015, down from $239.6 billion in 2014. Net U.S. acquisition of financial assets excluding financial derivatives and net U.S. incurrence of liabilities excluding financial derivatives decreased by similar amounts in 2015. A decrease in net borrowing accounted for by transactions in financial derivatives other than reserves of $29.0 billion was responsible for most of the decrease in net borrowing measured by financial-account transactions in 2015.
Net U.S. acquisition of financial assets excluding financial derivatives
Net U.S. acquisition of financial assets excluding financial derivatives was $242.2 billion in 2015, down from $792.1 billion in 2014.
Direct investment assets (equity and debt instruments)
Net acquisition of direct investment assets was $345.1 billion in 2015, down from $357.2 billion in 2014. The decrease was accounted for by a decrease in U.S. parents' reinvestment of earnings in their foreign affiliates that was partly offset by an increase in net acquisition of debt instruments.
Portfolio investment assets (equity and investment fund shares and debt securities)
Net U.S. acquisition of portfolio investment assets abroad was $186.3 billion in 2015, down from $538.1 billion in 2014. The decrease was primarily accounted for by a decrease in net U.S. acquisition of equity and investment fund shares. Net U.S. acquisition of debt securities also decreased. Holdings of long-term corporate bonds and notes declined.
Other investment assets (currency and deposits, loans, insurance technical reserves, and trade credit and advances)
Transactions decreased other investment assets abroad by $282.9 billion in 2015 after decreasing them by $99.5 billion in 2014. The 2015 decrease was larger mainly because of a shift to net repayment of loans. Net withdrawal of deposits abroad also increased.
Transactions in U.S. reserve assets decreased holdings by $6.3 billion in 2015, after decreasing holdings by $3.6 billion in 2014. The decreases in both years were more than accounted for by decreases in the U.S. reserve position in the International Monetary Fund.
Net U.S. incurrence of liabilities excluding financial derivatives Net U.S. incurrence of liabilities to foreigners excluding financial derivatives was $426.0 billion in 2015, down from $977.4 billion in 2014.
Direct investment liabilities (equity and debt instruments)
Net incurrence of direct investment liabilities to foreigners was $409.9 billion in 2015, up from $131.8 billion in 2014. The increase was largely accounted for by a shift to net foreign-parent equity investment other than reinvestment of earnings.
Portfolio investment liabilities (equity and investment fund shares and debt securities)
Net U.S. incurrence of portfolio investment liabilities to foreigners was $263.4 billion in 2015, down from $705.0 billion in 2014. Net foreign sales of U.S. equity and investment fund shares were $171.3 billion, a shift from net foreign purchases of $155.1 billion in 2014.
Net foreign purchases of U.S. debt securities were $434.6 billion, down from $550.0 billion.
Other investment liabilities (currency and deposits, loans, insurance technical reserves, trade credit and advances, and special drawing rights allocations) Net U.S. repayment of other investment liabilities to foreigners was $247.2 billion in 2015, a shift from net incurrence of $140.6 billion in 2014. The shift reflected a shift from net incurrence to net repayment of loans from foreign residents.
Financial derivatives other than reserves
Net transactions in financial derivatives other than reserves were –$25.4 billion in 2015, representing net borrowing, a decrease from net borrowing of $54.3 billion in 2014. Transactions in financial derivatives are only available as a net value equal to transactions for assets less transactions for liabilities. A positive value represents net cash payments by U.S. residents to foreign residents from settlements of derivatives contracts (net lending) and a negative value represents net U.S. cash receipts (net borrowing).
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