News Release: U.S. International Transactions

NOTE: See the navigation bar at the right side of the news release text for links to data tables, contact personnel and their telephone numbers, and supplementary materials.

EMBARGOED UNTIL RELEASE AT 8:30 A.M. EST, Thursday, December 17, 2015
BEA 15—64


William Zeile: (202) 606-9893 (Data)
U.S. International Transactions: Third Quarter 2015


                                      Current Account

      The U.S. current-account deficit—a net measure of transactions between the United States
and the rest of the world in goods, services, primary income (investment income and compensation),
and secondary income (current transfers)—increased to $124.1 billion (preliminary) in the third
quarter of 2015 from $111.1 billion (revised) in the second quarter. The deficit increased to
2.7 percent of current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP) from 2.5 percent in the second quarter.
The increase in the current-account deficit was largely accounted for by a decrease in the surplus
on primary income and an increase in the deficit on secondary income.

Goods and services

      The deficit on goods and services increased to $133.7 billion in the third quarter from
$133.1 billion in the second quarter.

      Goods

      The deficit on goods increased to $190.0 billion in the third quarter from $189.2
billion in the second quarter.

      Goods exports decreased to $379.9 billion from $384.7 billion. Exports decreased in three
of the six major general-merchandise end-use categories. The largest decrease—which more than
accounted for the total decrease in goods exports—was in industrial supplies and materials,
largely reflecting decreases in energy products, including petroleum and products, and in metals
and nonmetallic products. Exports also decreased in capital goods except automotive. Exports
increased in nonmonetary gold and in three major general-merchandise end-use categories. The
largest increase in the end-use categories was in automotive vehicles, parts, and engines, mainly
due to an increase in exports of passenger cars to areas other than Canada (ITA Table 2.1).

      Goods imports decreased to $569.9 billion from $573.9 billion. Imports decreased in four
of the six major general-merchandise end-use categories and in nonmonetary gold. The largest
decreases were in industrial supplies and materials and in capital goods except automotive. The
decrease in industrial supplies and materials was mainly due to decreases in petroleum and products
and in metals and nonmetallic products. The decrease in capital goods except automotive was mainly
due to decreases in oil-drilling, mining, and construction machinery and in “other” industrial
machinery. Imports increased in two major general-merchandise end-use categories. The largest
increase was in consumer goods except food and automotive, an increase that was more than accounted
for by an increase in durable goods (ITA Table 2.1).

      Services

      The surplus on services increased to $56.3 billion in the third quarter from $56.1 billion
in the second quarter.

      Services exports increased to $179.2 billion from $177.7 billion. Exports increased in
seven of the nine major services categories. The largest increases were in other business services—
particularly professional and management consulting services—financial services, and travel
(for all purposes including education). Charges for the use of intellectual property and transport
services decreased (ITA Table 3.1).

      Services imports increased to $122.9 billion from $121.6 billion. Imports increased in
five of the nine major services categories. The largest increase was in travel (for all purposes
including education), largely due to an increase in personal travel. The largest decrease was in
insurance services (ITA Table 3.1).

Primary income

      The surplus on primary income decreased to $46.1 billion in the third quarter from $52.8
billion in the second quarter.

      Investment income

      Income receipts from foreigners on U.S. holdings of financial assets abroad decreased to
$195.7 billion from $196.7 billion (ITA Table 4.1). The decrease was more than accounted for by a 
decrease in direct investment income on equity from foreign affiliates of U.S. parent companies, 
particularly in finance and insurance (ITA Table 4.2). Income on portfolio investment increased as 
income on equity and investment fund shares rose (ITA Table 4.3).

      Income payments to foreigners on U.S. liabilities increased to $147.1 billion from $141.4
billion (ITA Table 4.1). The increase was largely due to an increase in direct investment income 
payments on foreign equity in U.S. affiliates of foreign parent companies, reflecting a recovery 
from second-quarter income losses for some affiliates (ITA Table 4.2). Also contributing to the 
increase was an increase in portfolio investment income payments, particularly interest on long-term 
debt securities issued by nondepository financial institutions (ITA Table 4.3).

      Compensation of employees

      Receipts for compensation of U.S. residents paid by nonresidents were nearly unchanged at
$1.8 billion. Payments for compensation of foreign residents paid by U.S. residents were nearly
unchanged at $4.3 billion.

Secondary income (current transfers)

      The deficit on secondary income increased to $36.6 billion in the third quarter from $30.8
billion in the second quarter. Secondary income receipts and payments include U.S. government
and private transfers, such as U.S. government grants and pensions, fines and penalties, withholding
taxes, personal transfers (remittances), insurance-related transfers, and other current transfers.

      Secondary income receipts decreased to $31.6 billion from $34.7 billion. The decrease was
more than accounted for by a decrease in U.S. government transfers, particularly fines and penalties
paid to the U.S. government (ITA Table 5.1).

      Secondary income payments increased to $68.2 billion from $65.5 billion, largely reflecting
an increase in U.S. government grants to foreigners (ITA Table 5.1).

                                     Financial Account

      Net U.S. borrowing measured by financial-account transactions was $24.7 billion in the
third quarter, down from $61.3 billion in the second quarter. In the third quarter, net U.S.
sales of financial assets excluding financial derivatives shifted from net acquisition in the
second quarter, while net U.S. repayment of liabilities excluding financial derivatives shifted
from net incurrence in the second quarter. The shift to repayment of liabilities exceeded the
shift to sales of financial assets.

Net U.S. acquisition of financial assets excluding financial derivatives

      Net U.S. sales of financial assets excluding financial derivatives were $89.9 billion in
the third quarter, a shift from net acquisition of $141.2 billion in the second quarter.

      Direct investment assets (equity and debt instruments)

      Net acquisition of direct investment assets was $66.3 billion in the third quarter, down
from $105.1 billion in the second quarter. The decrease was largely accounted for by a shift
to net sales of debt instrument assets by both U.S. parent companies and U.S. affiliates. A
decrease in reinvestment of earnings also contributed (ITA Table 6.1).

      Portfolio investment assets (equity and investment fund shares and debt securities)

      Net U.S. sales of portfolio investment assets abroad were $115.0 billion in the third
quarter, a shift from net acquisition of $173.0 billion in the second quarter. The shift reflected
a shift to net U.S. sales of equity securities of $64.7 billion, from net purchases of $117.3
billion, and a shift to net sales of debt securities of $50.3 billion, from net purchases of
$55.8 billion (ITA Table 7.1).

      Other investment assets (currency and deposits, loans, insurance technical reserves, and
trade credit and advances)

      Net U.S. sales of other investment assets were $41.0 billion in the third quarter, down
from $136.1 billion in the second quarter. The decrease reflected a shift to net U.S. provision
of loans from net foreign repayment of loans, including resale agreements, provided by U.S. nonbank
financial institutions such as securities dealers and financial holding companies to foreign
residents (ITA Table 8.1).

      Reserve assets

      Transactions in U.S. reserve assets decreased holdings by $0.3 billion in the third quarter,
after decreasing holdings by $0.9 billion in the second quarter. The decreases in both quarters
reflected decreases in the U.S. reserve position in the International Monetary Fund.

Net U.S. incurrence of liabilities excluding financial derivatives

      Net U.S. repayment of liabilities to foreigners excluding financial derivatives was $64.6
billion in the third quarter, a shift from net incurrence of $204.3 billion in the second quarter.

      Direct investment liabilities (equity and debt instruments)

      Net incurrence of direct investment liabilities to foreigners was $39.2 billion in the
third quarter, down from $110.1 billion in the second quarter. A decrease in net incurrence of
debt instrument liabilities, which primarily reflected a shift to net repayment of debt owed by
U.S. affiliates, accounted for much of the decrease. A decrease in foreign acquisition of equity
in U.S. affiliates also contributed (ITA Table 6.1).

      Portfolio investment liabilities (equity and investment fund shares and debt securities)

      Net U.S. repayment of portfolio investment liabilities to foreigners was $143.2 billion
in the third quarter, a shift from net incurrence of $262.2 billion in the second quarter. The
shift was largely accounted for by a shift to net foreign sales of U.S. debt securities of
$99.8 billion from net foreign purchases of $277.0 billion (ITA Table 7.1). The shift to net
foreign sales was mainly due to a shift to net sales of U.S. debt securities by Chinese residents
(ITA Table 1.3).

      Other investment liabilities (currency and deposits, loans, insurance technical reserves,
trade credit and advances, and special drawing rights allocations)

      Net U.S. incurrence of other investment liabilities to foreigners was $39.4 billion in the
third quarter, a shift from net repayment of $168.0 billion in the second quarter. The shift to
net U.S. incurrence mainly reflected incurrence of loan liabilities to foreigners by U.S. securities
dealers and other nonbank financial institutions (ITA Table 8.1).

Financial derivatives other than reserves

      Net transactions in financial derivatives other than reserves were $0.7 billion in the
third quarter, down from $1.8 billion in the second quarter. Transactions in financial derivatives
are only available as a net value equal to transactions in assets less transactions in 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).

                                 Statistical discrepancy

      The statistical discrepancy is the difference between net acquisition of assets and net
incurrence of liabilities in the financial account (including financial derivatives) less the
difference between total credits and total debits recorded in the current and capital accounts.
The statistical discrepancy was $99.5 billion in the third quarter compared with $49.8 billion
in the second quarter.

                                 *          *          *

      In the third quarter, the U.S. dollar appreciated 2.0 percent on a trade-weighted quarterly
average basis against a group of 7 major currencies, after appreciating 0.6 percent on the same
basis in the second quarter. Exchange rate data are based on Federal Reserve Statistical Release H.10.

                                 *          *          *

                             Revisions to second quarter 2015

The current-account deficit in the second quarter of 2015 is revised upward to $111.1 billion
from $109.7 billion. The goods deficit is revised upward to $189.2 billion from $188.4 billion.
The services surplus is revised downward to $56.1 billion from $58.4 billion. The primary income
surplus is revised upward to $52.8 billion from $50.6 billion. The secondary income deficit is
revised upward to $30.8 billion from $30.3 billion. Second-quarter net borrowing from financial-
account transactions is revised upward to $61.3 billion from $59.7 billion. Net U.S. acquisition
of financial assets excluding financial derivatives is revised upward to $141.2 billion from
$137.5 billion, and net U.S. incurrence of liabilities excluding financial derivatives is revised
upward to $204.3 billion from $199.0 billion.

                                 *          *          *

      Release dates in 2016:

      Fourth Quarter and Year 2015....................................March 17, 2016 (Thursday)
      First Quarter 2016 and Annual Revisions..........................June 16, 2016 (Thursday)
      Second Quarter 2016.........................................September 15, 2016 (Thursday)
      Third Quarter 2016...........................................December 15, 2016 (Thursday)

                                 *          *          *

      BEA’s national, international, regional, and industry statistics; the SURVEY OF CURRENT
BUSINESS; and BEA news releases are available without charge on BEA’s Web site at (www.bea.gov).
At the site, you can also subscribe to receive free e-mail summaries of BEA releases and
announcements.
________________

NOTE: This news release is available on BEA's Web site along with Highlights related to this release, 
the latest detailed statistics for U.S. international transactions, and a description of the 
estimation methods used to compile them. The third-quarter statistics in this release are 
preliminary and will be revised on March 17, 2016. All links in the text of this release—including 
archived versions of this release—refer to the latest available statistics.