Economic theory tells us that national economies are supposed to trend over time towards balance, i.e.current account balances at or near zero. The graphs below show persistent imbalances for many nations, not just over years but decades, arguing that the current international monetary and trade systems are not fulfilling their objectives and need substantial modification.

China, Japan, Germany and other countries have economic strategies to run persistent current account surpluses. The US is the primary country absorbing those surpluses, resulting in a trade deficit, lower growth and degradation of the quality of employment.

The US has been in persistent deficit on its current account for 27 years.

China has run a large, persistent current account surplus since its economic reforms in the 1990s aimed at accelerating growth and exports.

Germany runs the largest current account surplus of any major national economy, a reflection of the imbalance inherent in the euro, a single currency for 19 nations with very divergent

The UK has been in persistent deficit since 1986, 33 consecutive years.

Japan runs a persistent current account surplus. Japan is credited with pioneering the so-called “Asian Tiger” strategy of running export surpluses as a means towards rapid economic growth.

South Korea has run a current account surplus for 21 consecutive years.

Source: International Monetary Fund

A look at the latest monthly data for us trade balance, exports and imports
US trade balance history including key sub-sectors
Our trade with other nations showing major surpluses and deficits
Our trade in Advanced Technology products and key sub-sectors of Advanced Technology
Current account balance as a percent of GDP for the US and other major nations
Exchange rates for the US dollar and other major currencies