Balance of Payment vs Balance of Trade: Difference and Comparison

Due to the implementation of the globalisation policy, the world has shrunk to a little hamlet, and each country now freely trades with the rest of the world.

Key Takeaways

  1. Balance of payment records all transactions between a country and the rest of the world.
  2. Balance of trade focuses solely on the value of a country’s exports and imports of goods and services.
  3. A positive trade balance indicates a trade surplus, whereas a positive balance of payment reflects a country’s overall economic health.

Balance of Payment vs Balance of Trade 

Balance of Payment is a broader concept compared to Balance of Trade. Capital and Unilateral transfers are not included in the balance of trade, but they are included in the Balance of Payments. Balance of trade provides a partial picture, and Balance of Payment provides the whole picture.

Balance of Payment vs Balance of Trade

As the name suggests, the balance of payments is a record of all transactions between firms in one nation and those in other countries during a certain period of time, such as a quarter or even according to the other way of looking at it, the balance-of-payments (BoP) is a collection of accounts that tracks all a country’s commercial interactions with the rest.

The balance of trade (BoT) is the most significant component of a country’s Associative power and is calculated by economists using the BoT. Alternatively, the international trade balance is called the balance of trade (BoT).

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Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonBalance of Payment Balance of Trade 
DefineA balance of payments is the sum of a trade balance, a service balance, a unilateral transfer balance, and a capital account consistency.The net balance of commodities exported and imported in a specific period is referred to as the balance of trade.
Component ofCurrent Account and Capital AccountCurrent Account of Balance of Payment
PurposeTo assist in making if everything’s been correctly accountedTo help a country in determining the net profit or loss resulting from the export and import of commodities
Net EffectAlways ZeroPositive, Negative or Zero
Capital TransfersIncludedNot Included
ResultReceipts and Payment sides are talliedBalanced or Unbalanced

What is the Balance of Payment?

The Balance of Payments is a collection of accounts that records all of a country’s business dealings with the rest of the world during a specific period.

It aggregates all public-private investments to determine the amount of money flowing into and out of the economy in the long term.

The following groups of accounts make up the Balance of Payments:
Current account: It is used to keep track of both tangible and intangible assets. Goods are physical objects, whereas services and income are intangible.

Capital account: It maintains track of all capital expenditures and revenue earned by the public and private sectors together. Capital Account includes foreign direct investment, external commercial borrowing, and government loans to foreign governments, among other things.

Errors and Omissions: If the invoices and payments do not tally, the balance will be displayed as errors and omissions.

balance of payment

What is the Balance of Trade?

Purchasing and selling products are referred to as trade, while buying and selling goods worldwide is referred to as import and export.

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The Balance of Trade shows the variations in a country’s imports and exports of products to the rest of the world over time. It’s called Trade Equilibrium if the country’s imports and exports are at a similar level.

Even if a trade surplus or deficit is not necessarily a reliable forecast of an economy’s development, other economic indicators, such as the business cycle, should be taken into account.

balance of trade

Main Differences Between Balance of Payment and Balance of Trade 

  1. The Balance of Trade can reflect a surplus, deficit, or equilibrium. The Balance of Payments, on either hand, is always in balance.
  2. The Balance of Trade is only partially accurate when it comes to a country’s economic situation. Balance of Payments, on the other hand, includes the analysis of a country’s economic situation.
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Last Updated : 13 August, 2023

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