1 mei 2015

Facts and figures on the Dutch current account surplus

We summarise the most relevant empirical and stylised facts related to the Dutch current account. We present the general outlook of the Dutch current account and its evolution in the recent past, the main components at both the financial and the trade sides and some Dutch-specific characteristics that can be considered structural to the surplus.
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Read also CPB Policy Brief 2015/05 'Causes and policy implications of the Dutch current account surplus'.

We then summarise the main factors that explain the relatively large and persistent surpluses.

To guide our presentation we start with historical time series and international comparisons, and then we use the national accounts and balance of payment accounting equations. The current account (CA) is important because it provides a summary of the external transactions of a country. Positive changes in the current account are associated with net positive exports or "importing" foreign demand. The current account is also important because it informs about the size and direction of international borrowing. A CA surplus increases the country’s net foreign wealth position or following the IMF definition: the Net International Investment Position (NIIP).

The main purpose of this paper is to provide clear statistics that can help determine the relative importance of the different factors influencing the persistent and large current account surplus in the Netherlands.


Cees Jansen
Hugo Rojas-Romagosa

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