Balance of Payment is a statement of systematic record of all economic transactions
between one country and the rest of the world.
It is a record pertaining to the period of time. Usually it is an annual statement.
It includes all transactions, current as well as capital.
The characteristics of Balance of Payment account are:
1. It is a way of listing receipts and payments in the international transactions of a country.
2. It adopts a double entry book keeping system. It has two sides: debit and credit. Payments
are recorded on the debit side and receipts on the credit side.
3. In accounting sense, debit and credit side of the account is always balanced but in balance
of payment account the credit and debit side do not balance, the balance is usually
achieved by adding an item called errors and ommissions.
4. It contains two sets of accounts:
3. Structure of Balance of Payment
1. Merchandise- Exports and Imports:
2. Invisible items of exports (shipping, banking, Insurance), expenditure in
country by foreign tourists and expenditure made by citizens in other
countries, receipts and payments of interest, dividends and profits on
3. Gifts grants, donations and war indemnities received and paid.
4. Inward and outward remittances
5. Miscellaneous receipts and payments on account of services rendered by
experts in country and to other countries.
4. B. Capital Account:
1. Long term foreign investments made in other countries and received in the
country in the forms of:
b. Investment in the form of foreign securities
2. Receipts and payments on account of short term loans from and to:
a. International financial institutions
b. Foreign governments
c. Private foreign investors
3. Receipts and payments for sale and purchases of gold
4. Change in currency reserves including change in the foreign assets of the
central bank of the country.
5. Difference Between Balance of Trade and Balance of
Balance of Trade (BOT) Balance of Payment (BOP)
It records on merchandise transactions
It records transactions related to both, goods
It does not record the transactions of Capital
It records the transactions of Capital nature.
It is a part of Current Account of Balance of
It includes balance of trade, balance of
services, balance of unilateral transfers and
balance of capital transactions.
It may be favourable, unfavourable or in
It always remains in balance as receipts
equals to payments.
Defects of balance of Trade cannot be met
by Balance of Payment
Defects in Balance of Payment can be met
through Balance of Trade
It is not true indicator of the economic
relations or economic prosperity of the
It is true indicator of the economic
performance of the economy.
6. Disequilibrium in the Balance of Payments
There are two main types of disequilibrium in the Balance of
1. Temporary disequilibrium: this type of disequilibrium is purely of a
temporary nature and is self-correcting. It does not involve the
complex problem of adjustment.
2. Fundamental disequilibrium: when the Balance of Payments
situation of a country progressively deteriorates and if it is chronic
and long term, it is known as fundamental disequilibrium. Such a
disequilibrium requires correction and adjustments.
7. Causes of Disequilibrium in BOP
A. Economic Factors: the economic factor which cause disequilibrium in the
balance of payment of the country are:
1. Cyclical fluctuations: Business fluctuations arises out of the occurrences of trade
cycle cause disequilibrium in BOP of a country. If there is business recession in the
foreign countries, it will result in fall in exports of the country concerned leading to
disequilibrium in the balance of payment.
2. Inflationary pressures in the Economy: an inflationary rise in prices in the economy
leads to disequilibrium in BOP. Due to rising money income of the people an
increasing prices of the goods and services, exports tends to decline, import tends to
rise for increased domestic demand and there by causes disequilibrium in BOP.
3. Capital Movements: if due to political instability and other factors, there is flight of
capital from the country, it would cause disequilibrium in BOP. Likewise a country
may tend to have an adverse balance when it borrows heavily from other countries,
while the lending country will tend to have a favourable balance.
8. 4. Fall in Exports and Rise in Imports: A fall in exports and rise in imports of the
country causes a disequilibrium in its BOP, the fall in exports and rise in
imports may be due to:
Contraction of economy
Fall in domestic production and rising demand for imported goods
Inferior quality and high prices of the goods to be exported
Obstructive government policies
Cheaper price and better quality of foreign goods
Increase in money income due to inflation policy.
B. Natural factors: Natural factors such as floods, famines, crop failure, etc. adversely
affects agricultural and industrial production leading to fall in exports and rise in
imports and hereby causing disequilibrium in BOP.
9. C. Political factors: Political instability, deteriorates in the law and order situation
within the country, fear of foreign aggression, lack of confidence in the currency of
the country, etc. disturbs the production process within the country leads to
disequilibrium in BOP.
D. Miscellaneous factors:
High population growth rate leads to increased imports
Increased demand of foreign goods due to structural changes
Change in the taste, preferences, habits, fashion, etc. of the people
Discovery of new substitutes for exports, and the development of alternative
sources of supply may also cause disequilibrium in the BOP of a country.
10. Measures to correct disequilibrium in Balance of Payment
A. Monetary measures:
1. Deflation: A country may adopt deflationary or dear money policy by raising the bank
rate and restricting credit. Under deflation, prices of domestic goods fall which makes
exports attractive and imports relatively costlier. Therefore, exports will increase. It also
restricts home consumption through reduction of incomes; reduced income leads to
lower domestic demand and there can be surplus production for the purpose of
It should be noted that the ill effects of deflation policy for treating disequilibrium are
dangerous for poor country. It creates more unemployment and poverty.
2. Exchange Depreciation: by depreciating the external value of the home currency, the
adverse BOP situation can be corrected. In case if the country have adopted flexible
exchange rate policy, then it is possible to adopt this method. It will tend to cheapen
the domestic goods for the foreigner so that its exports will be boosted, while its
imports will be costlier, so that they will tend to decline. However, this method is not
suitable under the present system of IMF which prescribes a fixed exchange rate
11. 3. Devaluation: A most commonly adopted method consists in devaluation of currency of a
country faced with an adverse BOP.
it is an alternative to exchange depreciation. It is suitable under the present IMF system.
Devaluation means official decrease in external value of currency in terms of foreign
currency or good or SDRs.
Conditions for Successful working of Devaluation:
a) A fairly elastic demand: if the domestic demand for imports and exports is inelastic,
devaluation will worsen the balance of payments position by increasing the total value of
imports, while at the same time reducing the total value of exports.
b) Structure of Imports and Exports: if the country’s exports are of primary goods and
imports are of manufactured goods and industrial raw materials, devaluation will lead to
unfavourable terms of trade. So it will lose under devaluation.
c) Domestic Price Stability: success of devaluation requires that when the external value od
currency is deliberately reduced, the internal value of the currency should not change,
otherwise the whole purpose will be defeated. In other words, the cost-price structure of
the devaluing country should not alter. There should be no inflation.
12. 4. Exchange control: Restriction on the use of foreign exchange by the central bank are called
“exchange controls.” When an exchange control is adopted, all the exporters have to
surrender their foreign exchange earrings to the central bank. Under exchange control, the
central bank releases foreign exchange only for essential imports and conserves the rest of
the balance. This is most direct method of curbing imports.
B. Non-Monetary Measures:
1. Import Duties: Tariff is a fiscal device which may be used for correcting BOP position. It refers
to custom duties levied on imports. A country having a deficit BOP will increase the amount of
tax on imports, which will reduce the imports and foreign currency can be retained by the
2. Import Quotas: Under the quota system, the government may fix and permit the maximum
quantity or value of a commodity to be imported during a given period. By restricting imports
through the quota system, deficit is reduced or eliminated and thereby the BOP position is
3. Export Promotion: to correct adverse BOP, government may adopt export promotion
programmes for increasing the level of exports and earning excess foreign exchange. Certain
facilities are also provoded to the exporters for this purpose.
4. Import substitutions: A series of activities will be started to reduce the level of imports to save foreign