BALANCE OF PAYMENTS (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Economy)

News-CRUX-10     6th July 2024        

Context: Data from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) revealed a current account surplus for India in the fourth quarter (Jan-Mar) of the 2023-24 financial year, marking the first surplus in 11 quarters. This must be viewed within the broader context of the 'Balance of Payments' table.

Balance of Payments (BoP)

  • About: It is essentially a ledger of a country’s transactions with the rest of the world.
  • Money Flows: As Indians trade and transact with the rest of the world, money flows in and out of the country.
  • Measuring Financial Transactions: The BoP shows how much money (shown here in billions of US dollars) went out of the country and how much money came in.
  • Flows: All the money coming into the country is marked positive and all the money going out is marked negative.
  • The BoP has two main accounts: Current Account, and Capital Account.

o The current account, as the name suggests, records transactions that are of a ‘current’ nature. There are two subdivisions of the current account: the trade of goods, and the trade of services.

o The capital account captures transactions that are less about current consumption and more about investments, such as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Foreign Institutional Investments (FII).

  • Importance: The BoP matters because it captures the relative demand of the rupee vis-a-vis the demand for foreign currencies (represented in dollar terms).
  • Balance of trade (BOT): It is the difference between the value of a country's exports and the value of a country's imports for a given period.

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