Germany’s current account surplus down to €232 billion in 2020
2020 saw Germany’s current account surplus drop by €26½ billion to €232 billion. Expressed as a share of nominal gross domestic product (GDP), the balance declined by half a percentage point to 7%, which is significantly below the record level of 8½% in 2015.
The coronavirus pandemic and the actions taken to mitigate its impact triggered unusual fluctuations in Germany’s current account over the course of 2020. The surplus slid from more than 7% of GDP to less than 5% in the second quarter because of the global pandemic shock, before quickly bouncing back in the second half of the year to reach more than 8% of GDP in the fourth quarter.
The current account is a component of the balance of payments, which records all economic transactions between residents and non-residents in a given period (month, quarter, year). The current account is broken down into exports and imports of goods and services, primary income (such as compensation of employees and investment income), and secondary income. The latter comprises current transfers, such as remittances.