News Release: U.S. International Transactions

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EMBARGOED UNTIL RELEASE AT 8:30 A.M. EDT, Thursday, September 17, 2015
BEA 15—43


William Zeile: (202) 606-9893 (Data)
U.S. International Transactions: Second 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)—decreased to $109.7 billion
(preliminary) in the second quarter of 2015 from $118.3 billion (revised) in the first
quarter. The deficit decreased to 2.5 percent of current-dollar gross domestic product
(GDP) from 2.7 percent in the first quarter. The decrease in the current-account deficit
was largely accounted for by decreases in the deficits on goods and secondary income.
Increases in the surpluses on primary income and services also contributed to the
decrease in the current-account deficit.

Goods and services

      The deficit on goods and services decreased to $130.0 billion in the second quarter
from $134.3 billion in the first quarter.

      Goods

      The deficit on goods decreased to $188.4 billion in the second quarter from $192.2
billion in the first quarter.

      Goods exports increased to $384.8 billion from $382.8 billion. Exports increased in
four of the six major general-merchandise end-use categories. The largest increase was in
industrial supplies and materials; this increase was more than accounted for by an
increase in petroleum and products, which was partly offset by a decrease in metals and
nonmetallic products. Exports decreased in nonmonetary gold and in two major
general-merchandise end-use categories. The largest of these decreases was in consumer
goods except food and automotive, mainly due to a decrease in durable goods
ITA Table 2.1.

      Goods imports decreased to $573.1 billion from $575.0 billion. Imports 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 imports—was in industrial supplies
and materials, largely reflecting decreases in petroleum and products and in metals and
nonmetallic products. Imports increased in nonmonetary gold and in three major
general-merchandise end-use categories. The largest of these increases was in automotive
vehicles, parts, and engines (ITA Table 2.1).

      Services

      The surplus on services increased to $58.4 billion in the second quarter from $57.9
billion in the first quarter.

      Services exports increased to $179.9 billion from $178.9 billion. Exports increased
in seven of the nine major services categories. The largest increases were in other
business services—most particularly in professional and management consulting services
and in research and development services—and in travel (for all purposes including
education). Transport decreased, reflecting a decrease in air passenger transport
(ITA Table 3.1).

      Services imports increased to $121.6 billion from $121.0 billion. Imports increased
in six of the nine major services categories. The largest increase was in travel (for all
purposes including education), mainly due to an increase in personal travel. The largest
decrease was in transport, mainly air freight transport (ITA Table 3.1).

Primary income

      The surplus on primary income increased to $50.6 billion in the second quarter from
$49.7 billion in the first quarter.

      Investment income

      Income receipts from foreigners on U.S. holdings of financial assets abroad
increased to $200.1 billion from $193.0 billion (ITA Table 4.1). The increase
mainly reflected an increase in direct investment income on equity from foreign
affiliates, particularly affiliates in Ireland, the Netherlands, and Bermuda
(ITA Table 4.2). Income on portfolio investment also increased, largely due to an 
increase in income on equity and investment fund shares (ITA Table 4.3).

      Income payments to foreigners on U.S. liabilities increased to $146.9 billion from
$140.8 billion (ITA Table 4.1). The increase was due primarily to an increase in direct 
investment income payments on foreign equity in U.S. affiliates, partly reflecting affiliate 
income growth from increased sales of motor vehicles and an increase in oil prices 
(ITA Table 4.2). Also contributing to the increase was an increase in portfolio investment 
income payments, particularly interest on debt securities (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 increased to $4.3 billion from $4.2 billion.

Secondary income (current transfers)

      The deficit on secondary income decreased to $30.3 billion in the second quarter
from $33.8 billion in the first 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 increased to $34.7 billion from $32.8 billion; the
increase was more than accounted for by an increase in U.S. government transfers,
particularly fines and penalties (ITA Table 5.1).

      Secondary income payments decreased to $65.0 billion from $66.6 billion,
reflecting a decrease in U.S. government grants to foreigners that was partly offset by
an increase in private transfers (ITA Table 5.1).

                                   Financial Account

      Net U.S. borrowing measured by financial-account transactions was $59.7 billion in
the second quarter, down from $60.3 billion in the first quarter. Net U.S. acquisition of
financial assets excluding financial derivatives decreased more than net U.S. incurrence
of liabilities excluding financial derivatives. However, a shift to net lending in
transactions in financial derivatives other than reserves more than offset the combined
changes in net acquisition of assets and net incurrence of liabilities excluding
financial derivatives, thereby slightly decreasing net U.S. borrowing measured in the
financial account.

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

      Net U.S. acquisition of financial assets excluding financial derivatives was $137.5
billion in the second quarter, down from $320.2 billion in the first quarter.

      Direct investment assets (equity and debt instruments)

      Net acquisition of direct investment assets was $101.1 billion in the second
quarter, up from $67.4 billion in the first quarter. The increase was largely accounted
for by a shift to net acquisition of debt instrument assets by both U.S. parent companies
and U.S. affiliates. Also contributing to the increase was an increase in net acquisition
of equity other than reinvestment of earnings (ITA Table 6.1).

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

      Net U.S. acquisition of portfolio investment assets abroad was $166.3 billion in
the second quarter, down from $233.5 billion in the first quarter. The decrease reflected
a decrease in net purchases of equity securities, to $116.7 billion from $168.7 billion,
and a decrease in net purchases of debt securities, to $49.6 billion from $64.8 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 abroad were $129.0 billion in the second
quarter, a shift from net acquisitions of $23.4 billion in the first quarter. The shift
to net sales mainly reflected (1) a shift to net foreign repayment of loans to foreign
residents provided by U.S. nonbank financial institutions such as securities dealers and
financial holding companies, and (2) an increase in net U.S. withdrawals of deposits
abroad by U.S. nonbanking concerns (ITA Table 8.1).

      Reserve assets

      Transactions in U.S. reserve assets decreased holdings by $0.9 billion in the
second quarter, after decreasing holdings by $4.2 billion in the first 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. incurrence of liabilities to foreigners excluding financial derivatives
was $199.0 billion in the second quarter, down from $340.3 billion in the first quarter.

      Direct investment liabilities (equity and debt instruments)

      Net incurrence of direct investment liabilities to foreigners was $78.2 billion in
the second quarter, down from $190.2 billion in the first quarter. The decrease was more
than accounted for by a decrease in net foreign-resident investment in equity other than
reinvestment of earnings from an unusually high level in the first quarter (ITA Table 6.1).

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

      Net U.S. incurrence of portfolio investment liabilities to foreigners was $271.0
billion in the second quarter, up from $101.1 billion in the first quarter. The increase
was more than accounted for by an increase in net foreign purchases of U.S. debt securities
to $288.2 billion from $68.6 billion. Partly offsetting this increase, net foreign sales of
U.S. equity and investment fund shares were $17.2 billion, a shift from net foreign
purchases of $32.5 billion (ITA Table 7.1).

      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 $150.1 billion
in the second quarter, a shift from net incurrence of $49.0 billion in the first quarter.
The shift to net U.S. repayment mainly reflected repayments of loan liabilities of U.S.
banks and nonbank financial institutions to foreign financial institutions (ITA Table 8.1).

Financial derivatives other than reserves

      Net transactions in financial derivatives other than reserves were $1.8 billion in
the second quarter, representing net lending. This was a shift from net borrowing of $40.1
billion in the first quarter. 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).

                                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 $49.9 billion in the second quarter
compared with $58.0 billion in the first quarter.

                                *          *          *

      In the second quarter, the U.S. dollar appreciated 0.6 percent on a trade-weighted
quarterly average basis against a group of 7 major currencies, after appreciating 8.2
percent on the same basis in the first quarter. Exchange rate data are based on Federal
Reserve Statistical Release H.10.

                                *          *          *

                            Revisions to first quarter 2015

The current-account deficit in the first quarter of 2015 is revised upward to $118.3
billion from $113.3 billion. The goods deficit is revised upward to $192.2 billion from
$189.0 billion. The services surplus is revised downward to $57.9 billion from $58.7
billion. The primary income surplus is revised downward to $49.7 billion from $50.8
billion. The secondary income deficit is revised downward to $33.75 billion from $33.83
billion. First-quarter net borrowing from financial-account transactions is revised
upward to $60.3 billion from $47.9 billion. Net U.S. acquisition of financial assets
excluding financial derivatives is revised downward to $320.2 billion from $325.1
billion, and net U.S. incurrence of liabilities excluding financial derivatives is
revised upward to $340.3 billion from $332.8 billion.

                                *          *          *

Release dates in 2015:

      Fourth Quarter and Year 2014..............................March 19, 2015 (Thursday)
      First Quarter 2015 and Annual Revisions....................June 18, 2015 (Thursday)
      Second Quarter 2015....................................September 17,2015 (Thursday)
      Third Quarter 2015.....................................December 17, 2015 (Thursday)

                                *          *          *

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________________

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 second-quarter statistics in this release are preliminary and will 
be revised on December 17, 2015. All links in the text of this release—including archived versions 
of this release—refer to the latest available statistics.