China’s Current Account Surplus Rises to Highest Since Late 2017

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China’s current account surplus continued to rise in the first quarter of 2019, pushed up by the largest primary income surplus on record.

  • The current-account balance in the first three months of this year was $58.6 billion, according to a State Administration of Foreign Exchange report Friday, compared with $54.6 billion in the last quarter of 2018.
China’s Current Account Surplus Rises to Highest Since Late 2017

Key Insights

  • The primary income surplus, which mainly shows profits on overseas investments, rose to a record
  • As China transforms into a consumption-led economy from the factory of the world, the size of the current account balance compared to gross domestic product has been declining, and it’s likely to hit 0.1% this year, according to Bloomberg surveys
  • Concern about the balance falling into deficit are easing on a higher trade surplus, as imports slowed more than exports this year, Larry Hu, head of Chinese economics at Macquarie Securities Ltd. in Hong Kong, wrote in a note ahead of the data

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  • The full year balance was $49 billion in 2018, the smallest since 2004
  • Detailed breakdown of the balance

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