balance of payments (BOP)



Set of accounts that record a country's international transactions, and which (because double entry bookkeeping is used) always balance out with no surplus or deficit shown on the overall basis. A surplus or deficit, however, can be shown in any of its three component accounts: (1) Current account, covers export and import of goods and services, (2) Capital account, covers investment inflows and outflows, and (3) Gold account, covers gold inflows and outflows. BOP accounting serves to highlight a country's competitive strengths and weaknesses, and helps in achieving balanced economic-growth.

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