The Effects Of Balance Of Trade Surplus And Deficit On A Country’s Economy

Undoubtedly, the Balance of trade, sometimes symbolized as (N.X.), is described as the difference between the monetary value of export and import of output in an economy over a certain period. It could also be seen as the relationship between the nation’s imports and exports. When the Balance has a positive indication, it is termed a trade surplus, i.e., exporting more than is imported, and a trade deficit or a trade gap if the reverse is the case. The Balance of trade is sometimes divided into a goods and a service balance. It encompasses the activity of exports and imports. A country that does more exports than imports is expected to stand a big chance of enjoying a balance of trade surplus in its economy more than its counterpart who does the opposite.



Economists and Government bureaus attempt to track trade deficits and surpluses by recording as many transactions with foreign entities as possible. Economists and Statisticians collect receipts from customs offices and routinely total imports, exports, and financial transactions. The full accounting is called the ‘Balance of Payments’- this is used to calculate the Balance of trade, which almost always results in a trade surplus or deficit.

Pre-contemporary understanding of the Balance of trade informed the economic policies of early modern Europe that are grouped under the heading ‘mercantilism.’

Mercantilism is the economic doctrine in which government control of foreign trade ensures the state’s prosperity and military security. In particular, it demands a positive balance of trade. Its main purpose was to increase a nation’s wealth by imposing government regulation concerning its commercial interests. It was believed that national strength could be maximized by limiting imports via tariffs and maximizing exports. It encouraged more exports and discouraged imports from gaining a trade balance advantage that would eventually culminate into a nation’s trade surplus. This has been a common practice in the Western world. They gained trade superiority over their colonies and third-world countries such as Australia, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, and other countries in Africa and some parts of the world. This is the main reason they enjoy many trade surplus benefits with these countries. This has been made constantly predominant due to the lack of technical know-how and capacity to produce sufficient and durable up-to-standard goods by these countries, a situation where they solely rely on foreign interests to run their economy, and most times, their moribund industries are seen depending on import to survive.

What is Trade Surplus?

Trade Surplus can be defined as an economic measure of a positive balance of trade where a country’s export exceeds its imports. A trade surplus represents a net inflow of domestic currency from foreign markets and is the opposite of a trade deficit, representing a net outflow.

Investopedia further explained the concept of trade surplus: when a nation has a trade surplus, it controls most of its currency. This causes a reduction of risk for another country selling this currency, which causes a drop in its value. When the money loses weight, it is more expensive to purchase imports, causing an even greater imbalance.

A Trade surplus usually creates a situation where the rest only grows (due to the rise in the nation’s currency value, making imports cheaper). There are many arguments against Milton Freidman’s belief that trade imbalance will correct itself naturally.

What is Trade Deficit?

Trade Deficit can be seen as an economic measure of a negative trade balance in which a country’s imports exceed its exports. It is simply the excess of imports over exports. As usual in Economics, there are several different trade deficit views, depending on who you talk to. Depending on the situation, they could be perceived as either good or bad or immaterial. However, few economists argue that trade deficits are always good.

Economists who consider trade deficit to be bad believe that a nation that consistently runs a current account deficit borrows from abroad or sells off capital assets -long-term assets- to finance everyday purchases of goods and services. They believe continual borrowing is not a viable long-term strategy and that selling long-term investments to finance current consumption undermines future production.

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Economists who consider trade deficit good associate them with positive economic development, specifically, higher income, consumer confidence, and investment. They argue that a trade deficit enables the United States to import capital to invest in productive capacity. Far from hurting employment as may be earlier perceived. They also believe that a trade deficit financed by foreign investment in the United States helps boost U.S. employment.

Some Economists view the concept of the trade deficit as a mere expression of consumer preferences and as immaterial. These economists typically equate economic well-being with rising consumption. If consumers want imported food, clothing, and cars, why shouldn’t they buy them? That range of Choices is seen as an atom of a successful and dynamic economy.

The balanced view may be the most suitable view about the Trade deficit. It isn’t good if a trade deficit represents borrowing to finance current consumption rather than long-term investment, results from inflationary pressure, or erodes U.S. employment. If a trade deficit fosters borrowing to finance long-term investment or reflects rising incomes, confidence, and buy and doesn’t hurt career, it’s good. A trade deficit should be treated as immaterial if it merely expresses consumer preference rather than these phenomena.