Measuring Trade Balances

Key Concepts and Summary

The trade balance measures the gap between a country’s exports and its imports. In most high-income economies, goods comprise less than half of a country’s total production, while services comprise more than half. The last two decades have seen a surge in international trade in services; however, most global trade still takes the form of goods rather than services. The current account balance includes the trade in goods, services, and money flowing into and out of a country from investments and unilateral transfers.