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News Release: U.S. International Transactions

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FOR WIRE TRANSMISSION: 8:30 A.M. EDT, THURSDAY, MARCH 18, 2010
BEA 10-08


Douglas B. Weinberg: (202) 606-9590 (Data)
U.S. International Transactions: Fourth Quarter and Year 2009
                       Fourth Quarter

                       Current Account

     The U.S. current-account deficit--the combined balances on trade in goods and
services, income, and net unilateral current transfers--increased to $115.6 billion
(preliminary) in the fourth quarter of 2009 from $102.3 billion (revised) in the third
quarter.  The increase was more than accounted for by an increase in the deficit on
goods and, to a lesser extent, a decrease in the surplus on income.  A decrease in net
unilateral current transfers to foreigners and an increase in the surplus on services
were partly offsetting.

Goods and services

     The deficit on goods and services increased to $108.9 billion in the fourth quarter
from $96.4 billion in the third.

     Goods

     The deficit on goods increased to $145.5 billion in the fourth quarter from $132.1
billion in the third.

     Goods exports increased to $286.9 billion from $263.6 billion.  Nearly all major
end-use categories of exports increased strongly.  Capital goods increased $8.1 billion;
industrial supplies and materials increased $5.7 billion; automotive vehicles, parts,
and engines increased $4.5 billion; consumer goods increased $2.6 billion; and foods,
feeds, and beverages increased $2.5 billion.

     Goods imports increased to $432.4 billion from $395.7 billion.  Most major end-use
categories of imports increased strongly.  Industrial supplies and materials increased
$13.2 billion, including a $6.6 billion increase in petroleum and products.  Capital
goods increased $9.0 billion; automotive vehicles, parts, and engines increased $7.5
billion; and consumer goods increased $6.7 billion.

     Services

     The surplus on services increased to $36.5 billion in the fourth quarter from $35.7
billion in the third.

     Services receipts increased to $131.8 billion from $129.2 billion.  Nearly all major
categories of receipts increased, but the largest increases were in “other” private services
(such as business, professional, and technical services, insurance services, and financial
services) and in “other” transportation (such as freight and port services).

     Services payments increased to $95.2 billion from $93.4 billion.  Most major categories
of payments increased, but the largest increases were in “other” transportation and in
“other” private services.

Income

     The surplus on income decreased to $25.1 billion in the fourth quarter from $29.1
billion in the third.

     Investment income

     Income receipts on U.S.-owned assets abroad increased to $147.9 billion from $141.6
billion.  The increase was mostly accounted for by an increase in direct investment receipts.
“Other” private receipts (which consists of interest and dividends) also increased.  U.S.
government receipts (which consists of interest) decreased.

     Income payments on foreign-owned assets in the United States increased to $121.0 billion
from $110.8 billion.  The increase was more than accounted for by an increase in direct
investment payments. U.S. government payments (which consists of interest) and “other” private
payments (which consists of interest and dividends) both decreased.

     Compensation of employees

     Receipts for compensation of U.S. workers abroad were virtually unchanged at $0.7 billion,
and payments for compensation of foreign workers in the United States were virtually unchanged
at $2.5 billion.

Unilateral current transfers

     Net unilateral current transfers to foreigners were $31.8 billion in the fourth quarter,
down from $35.0 billion in the third.  The decrease was more than accounted for by a decrease
in U.S. government grants.

                                     Capital Account

     Net capital account payments (outflows) were virtually unchanged at $0.7 billion in
the fourth quarter.

                                    Financial Account

     Net financial inflows were $45.7 billion in the fourth quarter, down from $85.7 billion
in the third. The slowdown resulted from a smaller increase in foreign-owned assets in the
United States in the fourth quarter than in the third quarter (smaller inflow) that was mostly
offset by a smaller increase in U.S.-owned assets abroad (smaller outflow).

U.S.-owned assets abroad

     U.S.-owned assets abroad increased $99.1 billion in the fourth quarter, following an
increase of $269.2 billion in the third.

     U.S. claims on foreigners reported by U.S. banks and securities brokers increased $59.6
billion in the fourth quarter, following an increase of $244.1 billion in the third.
(Examples of these claims are U.S. residents’ deposits at banks abroad and loans by U.S.
banks and securities brokers to foreigners.)

     Net U.S. purchases of foreign securities were $45.8 billion in the fourth quarter, down
from $47.0 billion in the third.  Net U.S. purchases of foreign stocks were $2.8 billion,
down from $26.2 billion.  Net U.S. purchases of foreign bonds were $42.9 billion, up from
$20.8 billion.

     U.S. direct investment abroad increased $63.5 billion in the fourth quarter, following
an increase of $68.5 billion in the third.  The slowdown was more than accounted for by a
shift from an increase to a decrease in net intercompany debt investment abroad.  In contrast,
reinvested earnings and, to a lesser extent, net equity capital investment abroad increased
more in the fourth quarter than in the third.

     U.S. claims on unaffiliated foreigners reported by U.S. nonbanking concerns decreased
$22.1 billion in the fourth quarter, following a decrease of $81.7 billion in the third.

     U.S. official reserve assets decreased $1.4 billion in the fourth quarter, following
an increase of $49.0 billion in the third quarter that mostly resulted from the allocation
of special drawing rights to the United States by the International Monetary Fund.

     U.S. government assets other than official reserve assets decreased $46.2 billion in
the fourth quarter, following a decrease of $57.7 billion in the third.  The decreases in
each of the last four quarters resulted from the reversal of swaps initiated under temporary
reciprocal currency arrangements between the U.S. Federal Reserve System and foreign central banks.

Foreign-owned assets in the United States

     Foreign-owned assets in the United States increased $144.8 billion in the fourth quarter,
following an increase of $343.4 billion in the third.

     U.S. liabilities to foreigners reported by U.S. banks and securities brokers decreased
$26.6 billion in the fourth quarter, following an increase of $134.2 billion in the third.
(Examples of these liabilities are deposits of foreign residents at banks in the United States
and loans by banks abroad to banks and securities brokers in the United States.)

     Net private foreign purchases of U.S. Treasury securities were $15.6 billion in the fourth
quarter, a shift from net foreign sales of $8.9 billion in the third.

     Net foreign purchases of U.S. securities other than U.S. Treasury securities were $6.7
billion in the fourth quarter, down from $28.7 billion in the third.  Net foreign purchases
of U.S. stocks were $37.4 billion, down from $51.1 billion.  Net foreign sales of U.S. corporate
bonds were $23.5 billion, down from $28.8 billion.  Net foreign sales of federally sponsored
agency bonds were $7.2 billion, a shift from net foreign purchases of $6.4 billion.

     Foreign direct investment in the United States increased $43.6 billion in the fourth
quarter, following an increase of $47.5 billion in the third.  The slowdown was more than
accounted for by smaller increases in intercompany debt investment in the United States and,
to a lesser extent, in net equity capital investment.  In contrast, reinvested earnings picked up.

     U.S. liabilities to unaffiliated foreigners reported by U.S. nonbanking concerns decreased
$21.6 billion in the fourth quarter, following an increase of $13.9 billion in the third.

     Foreign official assets in the United States increased $128.6 billion in the fourth quarter,
following an increase of $123.8 billion in the third.

     Transactions in U.S. currency shifted to net shipments to the United States of $1.4 billion in
the fourth quarter from net shipments to foreign countries of $4.2 billion in the third.

     The statistical discrepancy--errors and omissions in recorded transactions--was $70.6 billion
in the fourth quarter, compared with $17.4 billion in the third.

     In the fourth quarter, the U.S. dollar depreciated 2 percent on a trade-weighted quarterly
average basis against a group of 7 major currencies.

                                      The Year 2009

                                     Current Account

     The U.S. current-account deficit--the combined balances on trade in goods and services,
income, and net unilateral current transfers--decreased to $419.9 billion (preliminary) in
2009, the smallest deficit since 2001, from $706.1 billion in 2008.  The decrease was more
than accounted for by a drop in the deficit on goods.  Decreases in the surpluses on income
and on services and an increase in net unilateral current transfers to foreigners were partly
offsetting.

Goods and services

     The deficit on goods and services decreased to $378.6 billion in 2009 from $695.9
billion in 2008.

     Goods

     The deficit on goods decreased to $517.0 billion in 2009, the smallest deficit since 2002,
from $840.3 billion in 2008.

     Goods exports decreased to $1,045.5 billion from $1,277.0 billion.  All major end-use
categories of exports decreased substantially.  Industrial supplies and materials decreased
$91.7 billion; capital goods decreased $67.3 billion; automotive vehicles, parts, and engines
decreased $39.8 billion; foods, feeds, and beverages decreased $14.4 billion; and consumer
goods decreased $11.3 billion.

     Goods imports decreased to $1,562.6 billion from $2,117.2 billion.  All major end-use
categories of imports decreased substantially.  Industrial supplies and materials decreased
$324.6 billion, including a $199.7 billion decline in petroleum and products.  Capital goods
decreased $85.4 billion; automotive vehicles, parts, and engines decreased $73.8 billion;
consumer goods decreased $54.0 billion; and foods, feeds, and beverages decreased $7.4 billion.

     Services

     The surplus on services decreased to $138.4 billion in 2009 from $144.3 billion in 2008.

     Services receipts decreased to $509.2 billion from $549.6 billion.  The decrease was more
than accounted for by declines in travel, in “other” transportation (such as freight and port
services), in royalties and license fees, and in passenger fares.  “Other” private services
(such as business, professional, and technical services, insurance services, and financial services)
also decreased.  These decreases were partly offset by increases in transfers under U.S. military
agency sales contracts and in U.S. government miscellaneous services.

     Services payments decreased to $370.8 billion from $405.3 billion.  The decrease mostly
resulted from declines in “other” transportation, in travel, in passenger fares, and in
royalties and license fees.  Direct defense expenditures and “other” private services also
decreased.  These decreases were partly offset by a small increase in U.S. government
miscellaneous services.

Income

     The surplus on income decreased to $89.0 billion in 2009 from $118.2 billion in 2008.

     Investment income

     Income receipts on U.S.-owned assets abroad decreased to $558.3 billion from $761.6
billion.  The decrease was almost entirely accounted for by decreases in “other” private
receipts (which consists of interest and dividends) and in direct investment receipts.  U.S.
government receipts (which consists of interest) fell slightly.

     Income payments on foreign-owned assets in the United States decreased to $462.2
billion from $636.0 billion.  The decrease resulted from decreases in “other” private
payments (which consists of interest and dividends), in U.S. government payments (which
consists of interest), and in direct investment payments.

     Compensation of employees

     Receipts for compensation of U.S. workers abroad were virtually unchanged at $3.0
billion, and payments for compensation of foreign workers in the United States decreased
slightly to $10.0 billion from $10.4 billion.

Unilateral current transfers

     Net unilateral current transfers to foreigners were $130.2 billion in 2009, up from
$128.4 billion in 2008.  Increases in U.S. government grants and, to a lesser extent, in
U.S. government pensions and other transfers were largely offset by a decrease in private
remittances and other transfers.

                                     Capital Account

     Net capital account payments (outflows) were $2.9 billion in 2009, a shift from net
capital account receipts (inflows) of $1.0 billion in 2008.

                                    Financial Account

     Net financial inflows were $197.8 billion in 2009, down from $505.1 billion in 2008.
The slowdown resulted from a smaller increase in foreign-owned assets in the United States
in 2009 than in 2008 (smaller inflow) and a larger increase in U.S.-owned assets abroad
(larger outflow).

U.S.-owned assets abroad

     U.S.-owned assets abroad increased $237.5 billion in 2009, following an increase of
$0.1 billion in 2008.

     U.S. claims on foreigners reported by U.S. banks and securities brokers increased $420.3
billion in 2009, following a decrease of $433.4 billion in 2008.

     Net U.S. purchases of foreign securities were $221.5 billion in 2009, a shift from net
U.S. sales of $60.8 billion in 2008.  Net U.S. purchases of foreign stocks were $68.6 billion,
up from $1.3 billion.  Net U.S. purchases of foreign bonds were $152.9 billion, a shift from
net U.S. sales of $62.1 billion.

     U.S. direct investment abroad increased $221.0 billion in 2009, following an increase
of $332.0 billion in 2008.  The slowdown resulted from slowdowns in net equity capital
investment abroad and in reinvested earnings.  In contrast, net intercompany debt investment
abroad decreased less in 2009 than in 2008.

     U.S. claims on unaffiliated foreigners reported by U.S. nonbanking concerns decreased
$135.8 billion in 2009, following a decrease of $372.2 billion in 2008.

     U.S. official reserve assets increased $52.3 billion in 2009, following an increase
of $4.8 billion in 2008.  The pickup mostly resulted from the allocation of special drawing
rights to the United States in the third quarter of 2009 by the International Monetary Fund.

     U.S. government assets other than official reserve assets decreased $541.8 billion in 2009,
following an increase of $529.6 billion in 2008.  The shift resulted from the reversal of swaps
initiated under temporary reciprocal currency arrangements between the U.S. Federal Reserve
System and foreign central banks.

Foreign-owned assets in the United States

     Foreign-owned assets in the United States increased $435.2 billion in 2009, following an
increase of $534.1 billion in 2008.

     U.S. liabilities to foreigners reported by U.S. banks and securities brokers decreased
$235.0 billion in 2009, following a decrease of $326.6 billion in 2008.

     Net private foreign purchases of U.S. Treasury securities were $37.6 billion in 2009,
down from $196.6 billion in 2008.

     Net foreign sales of U.S. securities other than U.S. Treasury securities were $6.6
billion in 2009, down from $126.7 billion in 2008.  Net foreign purchases of U.S. stocks
were $130.2 billion, up from $57.1 billion.  Net foreign sales of U.S. corporate bonds were
$86.6 billion, a shift from net foreign purchases of $1.0 billion.  Net foreign sales of U.S.
federally sponsored agency bonds were $50.2 billion, down from $184.8 billion.

     Foreign direct investment in the United States increased $152.1 billion in 2009,
following an increase of $319.7 billion in 2008.  The slowdown mostly resulted from a
slowdown in net equity capital investment in the United States.  Reinvested earnings also
increased less in 2009 than in 2008.  In contrast, net intercompany debt investment in the
United States picked up.

     U.S. liabilities to unaffiliated foreigners reported by U.S. nonbanking concerns increased
$27.0 billion in 2009, following a decrease of $45.2 billion in 2008.

     Foreign official assets in the United States increased $447.6 billion in 2009, following
an increase of $487.0 billion in 2008.

     Net U.S. currency shipments to foreign countries were $12.6 billion in 2009, down from
$29.2 billion in 2008.

     The statistical discrepancy--errors and omissions in recorded transactions--was $224.9
billion in 2009, compared with $200.1 billion in 2008.

     In 2009, the U.S. dollar appreciated 5 percent on a trade-weighted yearly average
basis against a group of 7 major currencies.

                                       Revisions

     Statistics for the first three quarters of 2009 were revised to reflect revised seasonal
adjustments and, for the third quarter, new or revised source data.  Revisions to the first
and second quarters were small.  In the third quarter, the current-account deficit was revised
to $102.3 billion from $108.0 billion. The goods deficit was virtually unrevised at $132.1
billion; the services surplus was revised to $35.7 billion from $34.8 billion; the surplus on
income was revised to $29.1 billion from $23.7 billion; and net unilateral current transfers
to foreigners were revised to $35.0 billion from $34.4 billion.  Net financial inflows were
revised to $85.7 billion from $38.3 billion.

                                 *          *          *

     Release dates in 2010:

     Fourth quarter and year 2009...............................March 18, 2010 (Thursday)
     First quarter 2010..........................................June 17, 2010 (Thursday)
     Second quarter 2010....................................September 16, 2010 (Thursday)
     Third quarter 2010......................................December 16, 2010 (Thursday)

                                 *          *          *

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