Survey of Current Business

Survey of Current Business
Chronicling 100 Years of the U.S. Economy

July 2022
Volume 102, Number 7

U.S. International Transactions

First Quarter 2022

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The U.S. current-account deficit, which reflects the combined balances on trade in goods and services and income flows between U.S. residents and residents of other countries, widened by $66.6 billion, or 29.6 percent, to $291.4 billion in the first quarter of 2022 (chart 1 and table A). The revised fourth-quarter deficit was $224.8 billion.

The first-quarter deficit was 4.8 percent of current-dollar gross domestic product, up from 3.7 percent in the fourth quarter.

The $66.6 billion widening of the current-account deficit in the first quarter mostly reflected an increased deficit on goods.

Exports of goods and services to, and income received from, foreign residents increased $25.7 billion to $1.03 trillion in the first quarter (charts 2 and 3 and tables A and B). Imports of goods and services from, and income paid to, foreign residents increased $92.3 billion to $1.32 trillion (charts 2 and 4 and tables A and C).

Trade in goods

Exports of goods increased $13.9 billion to $487.4 billion, mostly reflecting an increase in industrial supplies and materials, primarily petroleum and products. Imports of goods increased $71.1 billion to $829.7 billion, reflecting widespread increases in consumer goods, in industrial supplies and materials, and in capital goods.

Trade in services

Exports of services increased $4.3 billion to $217.2 billion, mainly reflecting increases in government goods and services n.i.e. (not included elsewhere), in other business services, primarily professional and management consulting services, and in travel, led by other personal travel. Imports of services increased $5.8 billion to $158.7 billion, mainly reflecting increases in transport, mostly sea freight transport, and in charges for the use of intellectual property, primarily licenses for the use of outcomes of research and development (such as patents and trade secrets).

Primary income

Receipts of primary income increased $7.1 billion to $278.6 billion, and payments of primary income increased $10.7 billion to $245.2 billion. The increases in both receipts and payments mostly reflected an increase in portfolio investment income, primarily equity securities and interest on long-term debt securities.

Secondary income

Receipts of secondary income increased $0.5 billion to $43.6 billion, mostly reflecting an increase in general government transfers, primarily taxes on income and wealth. Payments of secondary income increased $4.7 billion to $84.7 billion, reflecting increases in general government transfers, mostly international cooperation, and in private transfers, mostly insurance-related transfers.

Capital-transfer payments increased $0.2 billion to $2.1 billion in the first quarter, mostly reflecting an increase in U.S. government investment grants (table A).

Net financial-account transactions were −$277.5 billion in the first quarter, reflecting net U.S. borrowing from foreign residents.

Financial assets

First-quarter transactions increased U.S. residents' foreign financial assets by $343.1 billion (charts 5 and 6 and table D). Transactions increased portfolio investment assets, mainly long-term debt securities and equity, by $203.1 billion; direct investment assets, primarily equity, by $115.2 billion; other investment assets, primarily loans, by $23.9 billion; and reserve assets by $0.9 billion.

Liabilities

First-quarter transactions increased U.S. liabilities to foreign residents by $626.4 billion. Transactions increased other investment liabilities, mostly loans and deposits, by $293.8 billion; portfolio investment liabilities by $239.0 billion, resulting from large and partly offsetting transactions in debt and equity securities; and direct investment liabilities, mostly equity, by $93.5 billion.

Financial derivatives

Net transactions in financial derivatives were $5.8 billion in the first quarter, reflecting net U.S. lending to foreign residents.

The U.S. international transactions statistics for the first quarter of 2012 through the fourth quarter of 2021 have been updated to incorporate newly available and revised source data and updated seasonal adjustments (table E). For more information, see “Annual Update of the U.S. International Transactions Accounts” in this issue of the Survey of Current Business.