China’s current account surplus last year fell to just 0.4 % of GDP, down from 1.3 % in 2017. In monetary terms, the 2018 current account surplus amounted to a mere 50 billion dollars. The goods trade surplus of roughly 400 billion dollars was largely offset by a services trade deficit of about 300 billion dollars and a deficit in net income and transfer payments totalling another 50 billion dollars.
Besides the reduction in the goods trade surplus, the current account surplus has been curtailed by increased purchases of foreign services. Tourism, in particular, has caused large outflows of money from China. Chinese tourists abroad last year spent 240 billion dollars more than foreign tourists spent on visits to China.
China’s current account, % of GDP
Sources: SAFE, Macrobond and BOFIT.