Opinion

Return of the current account deficit: why it still matters

Cameron Bagrie
Tue, 22 Mar 2022

Return of the current account deficit: why it still matters
Truckloads of tourists helped the balance of payments, until they stopped coming. (Image: Getty)
Cameron Bagrie
Tue, 22 Mar 2022
Last week’s current account figures did not get the attention they deserve.The current account – or balance of payments – deficit came in at 5.8% of gross domestic product, or $20 billion – for calendar 2021. In other words, we spent $20b more than we earned with the rest of the world. Net external debt increased by $17b in the past year.   That is a big deficit and a large accumulation of debt. It signals an economy living increasingly beyond its means. We have seen big deficits before. New...

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