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budget deficit budget surplus government debt balance of payments balance of trade current account

capital account assets

liabilities (debits)

obligations (credits)

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дефицит бюджета профицит бюджета государственный долг платежный баланс торговый баланс

платежный баланс по текущим операциям

баланс движения капитала активы

обязательства, пассивы, задолженность

обязательства (кредиты)

№ 3.1

U.S. trade deficit widens as oil-imports costs jump

The U.S. trade deficit widened in March, as higher imports of more-expensive crude-oil offset gains in U.S. exports.

The deficit, the largest in six months indicated that trade was likely an even larger drag on economic growth than previously thought, analysts said.

“The trade deficit was a disappointment, and we could see GDP growth for the first quarter revised below 1% and that would indicate a harder landing than anticipated,” said Marc Pado, a U.S. market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald.

The U.S. deficit in international trade of goods and services rose 10.4% to $63.89 billion from February’s revised $57.89 billion, the Commerce Department said.

The U.S. deficit with China, America’s largest two-way trade deficit, was $17.25 billion.


Washington has taken a tougher stand with Beijing on trade issues recently. Top Chinese economic officials are scheduled to visit Washington later this month for bilateral economic talks.

During March, imports and exports both rebounded, but the 1.8% rise in exports wasn’t enough to offset a 4.5% rise in imports.

The U.S. exported record amounts in March to Canada, the European Union, Germany, China and Japan, with sales buoyed by stronger exports of industrial supplies such as gold and other metals, chemicals and coal. Energy imports surged, both in price and quantity. Imports of consumer goods also rose, while imports of capital goods decreased.

While the report confirmed that the trade deficit subtracted from growth of the U.S. economy during the first quarter of 2007, many economists hope that trade will contribute to faster growth later in the year, as a weaker dollar and healthier economies around the world boost exports.

The Wall Street Journal May 2007


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№ 3.2

Why Americans should root for the dollar to weaken more

Last year, the U.S. dollar did what economists had long predicted it would have to do: It fell in value against other currencies. And many believe that if Americans know what is good for them, they should be hoping for more of the same this year.

A weaker dollar creates plenty of hardships. Not only do European vacations get more expensive for Americans, so do Chinese-made television sets and other imported goods. For foreigners, a weaker dollar means their investments in the U.S. lose value. But in the eyes of economists, the more the dollar weakens, the more it helps alleviate one of the great worries of our time: the gaping U.S. current-account deficit.

The current account, which includes trade flows and other international payments, measures exactly how much Americans’ spending is outpacing their income – and how much they are borrowing from abroad to fill the gap. The U.S. is estimated to have rung up a deficit of about $900 billion in its current account last year. That is


equivalent to nearly 7% of the U.S. economy – a level that, if sustained, would cause the nation’s foreign debts to pile up to dangerous levels.

A weaker dollar would help narrow the deficit by making U.S. exports more attractive to foreign buyers while making it costlier for Americans to buy products from abroad.

A tougher question is how far and how fast the dollar needs to fall. Some economists fear a sudden plunge will roil international markets and trigger a U.S. recession. Others believe a slower and more manageable adjustment is under way. They guess it could take a decline of 8% to 25% over as long as 10 years to get the U.S. current–account deficit down to a more sustainable level of 3% of gross domestic product.

During the past several years, the dollar’s movements have played into the hands of those who believe the currency’s adjustment will be slow and not too painful. After gradually weakening from its 2002 peak, the dollar strengthened in 2005, even as the U.S. current-account deficit set records. In 2006, the U.S. currency weakened again, as evidence of improving economic growth in Europe prompted investors to put more money into euros. By the end of last week, the dollar’s value against a basket of U.S. trading partners’ currencies was down 2% from a year earlier and 17% from its February 2002 high.

A weaker dollar by itself won’t be enough to resolve global imbalances. Many economists agree that Americans also need to save more, either by spending less or by cutting the federal budget deficit. As of November, U.S. consumers’ spending exceeded their disposable income by 1%.

Stronger growth abroad could play a role in shrinking the currentaccount deficit by increasing U.S. exports, though some believe the benefits would be limited.

Beyond that, much depends on which currencies the dollar weakens against. Economists view Asian currencies as most crucial because trade deficits with Asian countries account for more than half of the U.S. current-account gap.

With all the caveats taken into account, economists’ estimates vary widely on how much the dollar would have to weaken to bring the current-account deficit into line.

The Wall Street Journal

January 2007


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№ 3.3

Revenues narrow U.S. budget deficit

U.S. revenue collections hit a high in April, contributing to a further improvement in the budget deficit for the year.

Releasing its monthly budget report, the Treasury Department said Thursday that through the first seven months of this budget year, the deficit totals $80.8 billion, significantly below the $184.1 billion imbalance run-up during the first seven months of the 2006 budget year.

So far this year, tax revenues total $1.505 trillion, an increase of 11.2% over the same period last year. Tax collections swell in April every year as individuals file their tax returns by the deadline.

For the first seven months of this budget year, which began Oct. 1, revenue collections and government spending are at highs.

The Congressional Budget Office said that it now expects the deficit for all of 2007 to total between $150 billion and $200 billion. That would be a significant improvement from last year’s deficit of $248.2 billion, which had been the lowest imbalance in four years.

The federal budget was in surplus for four years from 1998 through 2001 as the long economic expansion helped push revenues higher. But the 2001 recession, the cost of fighting a global war on terror and the loss of revenue from President George W. Bush’s tax cuts sent the budget back into the red starting in 2002.

The administration’s budget sent to Congress in February projects that the deficit will be eliminated by 2012 even if the president achieves his goal of getting his tax cuts permanent. They are now slated to expire in 2010.

However, the critics say the improvement in the deficits will be only temporary with deficits expected to balloon again with the higher Social Security and Medicare payments needed as 78 million baby boomers retire.

The Wall Street Journal May 2007.


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№ 3.4

Japan Has First Surplus With China For a Decade

Japan earned more from exports to China than it spent on imports last month – the first time in almost a decade that it has run a trade surplus with its fast-expanding neighbour.

Figures released yesterday show the overall Japanese trade surplus rose for the eighth consecutive month in February to Y1,407bn – a 52 per cent rise on a year earlier and the highest level since 1998.

The trade surplus highlights the role the rest of Asia is playing as a source of growth for Japan, a feature of the country’s recovery.

Japan’s economy expanded by an annualised 6.4 per cent in the past quarter, thanks to export growth and related business investment at home with household consumption - another potential source of growth

– registering a minor gain.

Peter Morgan, chief economist at HSBC in Tokyo, said: “We’re still seeing strong growth in exports and that suggests the economic expansion will continue for some time. As long as global growth holds up, Japanese growth tags along.”

Exports to China hit Y590bn, topping imports – of Y577bn – for the first time since 1994, as a demand for machinery, semiconductors and electronic consumer goods accelerated.

The export growth, however, also stems from growing number of Japanese companies that send parts to Chinese factories for assembly and then ship products elsewhere.

Japan’s expanding trade surplus is likely to add to upward pressure on the yen, which was steady at about Y106 against the dollar in Tokyo yesterday.

The Financial Times March 2004.


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№ 3.5

Japan’s current account reaches a record surplus

Japan’s current-account surplus surged to a record in March as exports remained strong and imports fell for the first time in more than three years, the Finance Ministry said.

The surplus in the current account, the broadest measure of trade in goods, services and investment earnings, widened 36.9% to 3.317 trillion yen before seasonal adjustment, the Ministry said.

The increase was mainly because of a slowdown in imports, which fell for the first time in 37 months, a ministry official said. Imports were affected by a decrease in business in Asia, especially China, because of the Lunar New Year holidays, the official said.

Economists said yen weakness will continue to support growth in the current-account surplus. ”As long as the trend of the weak yen continues, the Japanese current account will remain strong, underpinned by companies’ healthy overseas business,” said Yasuo Yamamoto, a senior economist at Mizuho Research Institute.

The current-account surplus for the fiscal year ended in March rose 11.1% to 21.253 trillion yen, topping 20 trillion yen for the first time.

Separately, the Japanese central bank said corporate-goods prices rose 2.2% in April from a year earlier, marking the biggest year-to-year increase since December, when the index gained 2.5%. April’s growth marks the 38th straight month of increase.

The Wall Street Journal

May 2007


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№ 3.6

Korea posts record nine-month trade surplus, despite declines

South Korea had a larger-than-expected $3.79 billion trade surplus in October, helped by brisk exports of information-technology products and rising demand from emerging markets including China, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said Sunday.

The government says it now expects that monthly exports and imports will begin to grow in November, partly helped by the low base from the year-earlier periods.


This projection is a come-down from its previous one, as it had said a month earlier that the exports and imports would grow at the beginning of the fourth quarter, in October. But the government still points to a faster-than-expected recovery of domestic and global demand.

South Korea is one of the first economies in the region to report trade data, and thus provides a gauge to market watchers in assessing global demand.

According to the preliminary data, exports in October fell 8.3% from a year earlier at $34.03 billion, less than the 12% decline projected by market watchers, while imports were down 16.3% at $30.23 billion, versus a forecast for a 15.7% decline.

The trade balance was in the black for a ninth straight month, with the surplus for the January-October period totaling $34.58 billion, the biggest on record, followed by a $31.9 billion surplus in the first 10 months of 1998.

In September, Korean exports and imports fell 7.8% and 24.6% respectively, for a $4.7 billion surplus.

The latest data are expected to fuel growing optimism that South Korea will be one of the countries that weathers the severe global economic downturn better than expected this year.

Such optimism was recently backed up by the government, which now sees possibilities for gross domestic product to expand this year, since South Korea’s production and exports are doing far better than when it had expected GDP to contract 1.5% this year.

According to recent production data, industrial output jumped 11% in September from a year earlier, the fastest pace in 20 months.

A majority of analysts still believe the Bank of Korea won’t start to raise rates from an all-time low of 2% before early next year, due partly to the opposition from the government, which is warning that a hasty rate increase will hurt the nascent recovery. Still, experts say the firm economic indicators announced recently are more than enough to sway the central bank to adjust its policy rate.

Exports to China, South Korea’s biggest export destination, rose 3.4% from a year earlier in the first 20 days of the month, while those to the Association to Southeast Asian Nations jumped 9.0% in the same period, marking the first rise this year.

Compared with the first 20 days of October 2008, shipments to developed nations were weaker, with exports to the U.S. down 37.4%.


Shipments to the European Union were off 19% and those to Japan were down 22.5%.

The Wall Street Journal

November 2009


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№ 3.7

White House forecasts higher budget deficit

The White House on Monday raised its forecast for this year's U.S. budget deficit by $89 billion due to the recession, millions of new unemployment claims and corporate bailouts. The new estimate predicted a deficit of $1.84 trillion, or 12.9 percent of gross domestic product, for the fiscal year ending September 30. It updated the White House's February forecast of a $1.75 trillion deficit, or 12.3 percent of GDP.

White House officials said the gloomier picture reflected weaker tax receipts as the economy declined and higher costs for social safetynet programs such as unemployment insurance. Spending on government rescues for the financial and automobile industries also played a part.

While the Democratic-led Congress has approved the broad outline of Obama's proposed FY 2010 budget that includes initiatives on healthcare, education and other items, many lawmakers are wary about the deficit outlook. "It's clear that there is much more that we can do to protect our children and grandchildren from the unprecedented trillions in additional debt proposed by the administration," Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement.

The White House countered that Obama inherited huge deficits from his Republican predecessor President George W. Bush. The higher deficits "are driven in large part by the economic crisis inherited by this administration," White House budget director Peter Orszag said on his blog.

After taking office in January, Obama released a bare-bones version of his budget in February with a spending plan for 2010 carrying a price tag of $3.55 trillion. The White House has now revised up the size of the spending plan to $3.59 trillion.

The U.S. economy shrank at a steep 6.1 percent rate in the first three months of this year.


The new White House figures bring the deficit estimates closer in line with the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, which has forecast a $1.85 trillion deficit this year and $1.38 trillion in fiscal 2010. To allay worries about the deficit and fend off Republican attempts to paint him as a big spender, Obama in the past week has rolled out a series of announcements aimed at showing he is working to stem the red ink. Last week, he said he could wring $17 billion in savings from his budget by cutting waste in areas from weapons systems and education to the cleanup of abandoned mines.

But the cuts in 121 programs amounted to less than one-half of 1 percent of the total budget for 2010 and even the slim list of reductions is likely to face resistance in Congress.

Obama also unveiled a plan to toughen tax policies for multinational companies that invest abroad and to close loopholes on overseas tax shelters. Many businesses strongly oppose the proposed changes for multinational firms.

Obama on Monday highlighted more savings at a White House forum on making the U.S. healthcare system more efficient.


May 2009


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№ 3.8

Geithner Tells China U.S. Will Tackle Budget Deficit

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told China that the U.S. wants to shrink its budget gap as soon as an economic recovery takes hold, reassuring the nation that is the biggest holder of U.S. government debt.

The U.S. goal is a deficit of “roughly 3 percent” of gross domestic product from a projected 12.9 percent this year, Geithner reaffirmed today in a speech in Beijing.

Geithner’s maiden visit to China as treasury secretary aims to deepen cooperation in dealing with the global financial crisis in meetings with Premier Wen Jiabao, President Hu Jintao and Vice Premier Wang Qishan. U.S. government debt has this year handed investors the worst loss since at least 1977 on forecasts for ballooning deficits and Wen has expressed concern about the “safety” of China’s dollar assets.

“The Chinese public is worried about the safety of its foreignexchange reserves,” said Yu yongding, a senior researcher at the government-backed Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and a former


central bank adviser. “If America fails to adjust its economy by increasing its saving rate and reducing its current account deficit another financial crisis triggered by a dollar crisis could be inevitable,” Yu said in an e-mail.

China held about $768 billion of Treasuries as of March. For the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, the U.S. deficit is projected to reach a record $1.75 trillion from last year’s $455 billion shortfall, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Sustainable’ Deficit

Geithner said that China’s investments in U.S. financial assets are very safe, and that the U.S. is committed to a strong dollar.

“We are going to have to bring our fiscal deficit down to a level that is sustainable over the medium term,” Geithner said. “This will mean bringing the imbalance between our fiscal resources and our expenditures down to the point -- roughly 3 percent of GDP -- where the overall level of public debt to GDP is definitely on a downward path.”

The U.S. will need to phase out the tax cuts and bank rescue programs set up to help the economy recover from a deep recession, Geithner said. Spending cuts also will be needed, along with health care reform and new budget constraints like pay-as-you-go rules.

The global economic recession “seems to be losing force” although recovery will be a long and slow process, he said, acknowledging General Motors Corp. factory closures and its corporate reorganization being announced today in Washington.

China’s manufacturing expanded in May, two reports showed today, in response to the country’s 4 trillion yuan ($585 billion) stimulus package announced last year.


June 2009


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№ 3.9

Obama Calls for 'Pay as You Go' Budget Rules

President Barack Obama, hoping to enhance his reputation for fiscal discipline at a time of increasing worry over runaway government spending, challenged lawmakers Tuesday to codify "pay as you go" budget rules in law.

Mr. Obama on Tuesday outlined a proposal that would require any new tax cut or entitlement program be paid for. "The pay-as-you-go rule


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