Germany’s current account surplus rises to €265½ billion in 2021
2021 saw Germany’s current account surplus rise by €26½ billion to €265½ billion. Receipts amounted to €2.02 trillion, while expenditure came to €1.76 trillion. The balance grew by ½ percentage point to 7½% of gross domestic product. The ratio thus more or less returned to its pre-pandemic level, after the short-lived decline in the previous year.
There was an increase mainly in the primary income surplus, which comprises compensation of employees and investment income, in particular. The balances of the goods account, services account and secondary income, such as remittances, remained largely unchanged. This development is only partly attributable to the gradual normalisation following the first year of the pandemic. The primary income balance recovered owing to a higher level of income from Germany’s outward foreign direct investment, and German exporters benefited from a rebound in foreign demand, mainly at the start of the year. However, strong increases in import prices in connection with pandemic-related supply bottlenecks reduced the surplus in the goods account. In addition, Germans’ spending on foreign travel remained low in 2021. There were also exceptionally high receipts from patents for vaccines. Both developments had a positive impact on Germany’s services account, which usually runs a deficit.
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.