Home > News Release: U.S. International Transactions

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.


FOR WIRE TRANSMISSION: 8:30 A.M. EDT, THURSDAY, JUNE 17, 2010
BEA 10-28


Daniel R. Yorgason: (202) 606-9804 (Data)
Paul W. Farello: (202) 606-9561 (Revisions)
U.S. International Transactions: First Quarter 2010
                           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 $109.0
billion (preliminary) in the first quarter of 2010, from $100.9 billion (revised)
in the fourth quarter of 2009.  The increase was the third consecutive quarterly
increase since the deficit of $84.4 billion in the second quarter of 2009, which
was the smallest deficit since the third quarter of 1999.  The increase was more
than accounted for by an increase in the deficit on goods. An increase in net
unilateral current transfers to foreigners also contributed.  Increases in the
surpluses on income and services were partly offsetting.

Goods and services

        The deficit on goods and services increased to $115.3 billion in the first
quarter from $104.7 billion in the fourth.

        Goods

        The deficit on goods increased to $151.3 billion in the first quarter from
$140.1 billion in the fourth.

        Goods exports increased to $305.7 billion from $290.6 billion.  All major
end-use categories increased.  The largest increase was in industrial supplies and
materials, reflecting increases in chemicals, energy products, and metals and
nonmetallic products.  Increases in capital goods, particularly machinery and
equipment, and in automotive products were also strong.

        Goods imports increased to $456.9 billion from $430.7 billion.  All major
end-use categories increased, but industrial supplies and materials accounted for
nearly two-thirds of the increase.  Within this category, petroleum and petroleum
products accounted for most of the increase, with metals and nonmetallic products
also contributing.  Capital goods (primarily machinery and equipment) and consumer
goods (primarily household and kitchen appliances) also increased sharply.

        Services

        The surplus on services increased to $36.0 billion in the first quarter
from $35.4 billion in the fourth.

        Services receipts increased to $132.9 billion from $129.9 billion.  Within
services, the largest increases were in travel and in transfers under U.S. military
agency sales contracts.  All other major services categories except royalties and
license fees also increased.

        Services payments increased to $96.9 billion from $94.5 billion.  The
increase was largely accounted for by “other” transportation and by royalties and
license fees.  Most other major services categories also increased.

Income

        The surplus on income increased to $41.7 billion in the first quarter from
$35.1 billion in the fourth.

        Investment income

        Income receipts on U.S.-owned assets abroad increased to $162.8 billion
from $155.2 billion.  The increase was more than accounted for by higher direct
investment receipts.  Other private receipts (which consists of interest and
dividends) declined slightly and U.S. government receipts were little changed.

        Income payments on foreign-owned assets in the United States rose to $119.0
billion from $118.2 billion.  The increase was more than accounted for by an
increase in direct investment payments.  Other private payments (which consists of
interest and dividends) declined and U.S. government payments were slightly higher.

        Compensation of employees

        Receipts for compensation of U.S. workers abroad increased slightly to
$0.8 billion in the first quarter.  Payments for compensation of foreign workers
in the United States increased to $2.8 billion from $2.7 billion.

Unilateral current transfers

        Net unilateral current transfers to foreigners were $35.5 billion in the
first quarter, up from $31.3 billion in the fourth.  The increase was mostly
accounted for by an increase in U.S. government grants.

                              Capital Account

        Net capital account payments (outflows) were near zero in the first
quarter, compared with less than $0.1 billion in the fourth quarter.

                             Financial Account

        Net financial inflows were $31.3 billion in the first quarter, down from
$115.7 billion in the fourth.  Growth in both U.S.-owned assets abroad and foreign-
owned assets in the United States picked up considerably, but the increase in the
growth in U.S.-owned assets was greater than that of foreign-owned assets.

U.S.-owned assets abroad

        U.S.-owned assets abroad increased $300.8 billion in the first quarter,
following an increase of $8.7 billion in the fourth.

        U.S. claims on foreigners reported by U.S. banks and securities brokers
increased $192.8 billion in the first quarter, following a decrease of $56.6
billion in the fourth.  (Examples of these claims are U.S. banks’ deposits at
foreign banks and U.S. banks’ loans to foreigners.)

        Transactions in foreign securities were nearly unchanged, with net U.S.
purchases of $45.9 billion in the first quarter following net U.S. purchases of
$45.5 billion in the fourth.  Net U.S. purchases of foreign stocks increased to
$10.5 billion from $2.8 billion.  Net U.S. purchases of foreign bonds fell to
$35.3 billion from $42.7 billion.

        U.S. direct investment abroad was $105.0 billion in the first quarter,
up from $83.2 billion in the fourth quarter.  The increase in direct investment
resulted mostly from a jump in net equity investment and a smaller increase in
reinvested earnings.

        U.S. claims on unaffiliated foreigners reported by U.S. nonbanking concerns
decreased $34.0 billion in the first quarter, following a decrease of $16.2 billion
in the fourth quarter.

        U.S. official reserve assets increased $0.8 billion in the first quarter,
following a decrease of $1.4 billion in the fourth.

        U.S. government assets other than official reserve assets decreased $9.6
billion in the first quarter, following a decrease of $45.8 billion in the fourth.
The decreases in each of the last five quarters resulted from the reversal of swaps
that increased sharply in the last half of 2008 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 $332.1 billion in the
first quarter, following an increase of $103.6 billion in the fourth.

        U.S. liabilities to foreigners reported by U.S. banks and securities brokers
(other than foreign official assets) increased $88.6 billion in the first quarter,
following a decrease of $63.9 billion in the fourth.  (Examples of these liabilities
are deposits of foreign residents at banks in the United States and loans by banks
abroad to banks in the United States.)

        Net private foreign purchases of U.S. Treasury securities were $103.4
billion in the first quarter, up sharply from $15.2 billion in the fourth.

        Net private foreign purchases of U.S. securities other than U.S. Treasury
securities were $5.2 billion in the first quarter, down from $20.4 billion in the
fourth.  Net foreign sales of U.S. federally sponsored agency bonds were $1.4 billion,
a shift from net foreign purchases of $2.4 billion.  Net foreign sales of U.S.
corporate bonds were $28.1 billion, up from $19.5 billion.  Net purchases of U.S.
stocks were $34.7 billion, down from $37.5 billion.

        Foreign direct investment in the United States was $47.3 billion in the
first quarter, following investment of $41.5 billion in the fourth.  The increase
was more than accounted for by a shift to net intercompany debt investment in the
United States.  In contrast, equity investment and reinvested earnings both declined.

        U.S. liabilities to unaffiliated foreigners reported by U.S. nonbanking
concerns increased $10.3 billion in the first quarter, a shift from a decrease of
$25.0 billion in the fourth.

        Foreign official assets in the United States increased $75.0 billion in
the first quarter, following an increase of $116.8 billion in the fourth.

        Transactions in U.S. currency shifted to net shipments to foreign countries
of $2.3 billion in the first quarter from net shipments to the United States of $1.4
billion in the fourth.

        The statistical discrepancy—errors and omissions in recorded transactions—was
$77.7 billion in the first quarter compared to -$14.8 billion in the fourth.

        In the first quarter, the U.S. dollar appreciated 3 percent on a trade-
weighted quarterly average basis against a group of 7 major currencies.

                                 Revisions

        Statistics from the U.S. international transactions accounts have been
updated and revised to incorporate several changes in definitions, classifications,
and presentation, most of which result from a multi-year effort to modernize and
enhance BEA's international economic accounts.  In addition, the revisions reflect
newly available source data and improved estimating methodologies.  An article in
the May 2010 issue of the Survey of Current Business describing this effort is
available on BEA's Web site.  Key changes introduced in this annual revision are
summarized below.

        Definitions and classifications

*       Certain exports and imports of military-related goods are reclassified from
services to goods beginning with statistics for 1999.  Exports of goods under the
U.S. Foreign Military Sales program, which had been recorded under services as part
of “transfers under U.S. military agency sales contracts,” are reclassified as
exports of goods.  Petroleum purchases abroad by the U.S. military, which had been
recorded under services as part of “direct defense expenditures,” are reclassified
as imports of goods.

*       Air and ocean carriers’ expenditures on fuel in foreign ports are reclassified
from services to goods beginning with statistics for 1999.  Foreign carriers'
expenditures on fuel in U.S. ports, which had been recorded as part of exports of
“other” transportation services, are reclassified as exports of goods. U.S. carriers'
expenditures on fuel in foreign ports, which had been recorded as part of imports of
“other” transportation services, are reclassified as imports of goods.

*       Migrants’ transfers are excluded from the capital account beginning with
statistics for 1982.

*       Permanent debt between affiliated banks, bank holding companies, and
financial holding companies is reclassified from direct investment to “other
investment” beginning with statistics for 2007.

        Source data and methodologies

*       Exports and imports of goods on a balance of payments basis are revised
for 2007-2009 to phase in a revised Census Bureau methodology for low-value goods.
Also, an adjustment for imports to reclassify transactions in repair services from
goods to services was revised to improve coverage beginning with statistics for 1999.
Other significant revisions to the adjustments that convert exports and imports of
goods from a Census basis to a balance of payments basis, resulting from updated
source data, begin with 2008.

*       Services receipts are revised beginning with 2004 and payments are revised
beginning with 1999 to incorporate updated and revised source data.  For both
receipts and payments, the revisions were largest for 2006-2009 and resulted primarily
from BEA’s quarterly services surveys and from initial results of BEA’s benchmark
survey of international insurance transactions.

*       Direct investment financial flows and income receipts and payments are
revised for 2007-2009 to incorporate new data from BEA’s quarterly and annual
surveys of U.S. direct investment abroad and foreign direct investment in the
United States.

*       For foreign securities, financial flows and interest receipts for foreign
bonds and dividend receipts for foreign stocks are revised for 2008-2009 to
incorporate results of the U.S. Treasury Department’s annual survey of securities
claims for December 2008 and other new source data.

*       For U.S. securities, financial flows and interest payments for U.S.
corporate bonds, U.S. Treasury bonds, and U.S. agency bonds and dividend payments
for U.S. stocks are revised for 2008-2009 to incorporate results of the U.S.
Treasury Department’s annual survey of securities liabilities for June 2009 and
other new source data.

        The U.S. net international investment position preliminary statistics for
2009 and revised statistics for earlier years will be released on June 25.

        The fourth-quarter 2009 international transactions are revised from
previously published statistics. Revisions reflect both newly available source
data for the fourth quarter and changes from all of the above sources of revision.
The current-account deficit was revised to $100.9 billion from $115.6 billion. The
goods deficit was revised to $140.1 billion from $145.5 billion; the services
surplus was revised to $35.4 billion from $36.5 billion; the income surplus was
revised to $35.1 billion from $25.1 billion; and unilateral current transfers were
revised to net outflows of $31.3 billion from $31.8 billion.  Net financial inflows
were revised to $115.7 billion from $45.7 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)

                            *          *          *

        Summary BEA statistics are available on recorded messages at the time of
public release at the following telephone numbers:

                   (202) 606-5306 Gross domestic product
                            -5303 Personal income and outlays

        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.  By visiting the site, you can also subscribe
to receive free e-mail summaries of BEA releases and announcements.