Last week the BEA report on U.S. Net International Investment Position showed that US liabilities to the rest of the world rose again.
The US net international position is now negative to the tune of $7.5 trillion.
The U.S. net international investment position at the end of the first quarter of 2016 was −$7,525.6 billion (preliminary) as the value of U.S. liabilities exceeded the value of U.S. assets. At the end of the fourth quarter of 2015, the net investment position was -$7,280.6 billion.
U.S. assets increased $742.1 billion to $24,082.9 billion at the end of the first quarter (chart 2).
- Financial derivatives with a gross positive fair value increased $586.4 billion, mostly in single-currency interest rate contracts.
- Assets excluding financial derivatives increased $155.7 billion to $21,101.1 billion, reflecting both an appreciation of major foreign currencies against the U.S. dollar that raised the value of U.S. assets in dollar terms and net U.S. acquisition of assets. These increases were partly offset by price decreases on direct investment and portfolio investment assets.
U.S. liabilities increased $987.1 billion to $31,608.5 billion at the end of the first quarter (chart 2).
- Financial derivatives with a gross negative fair value increased $604.5 billion, mostly in single-currency interest rate contracts.
- Liabilities excluding financial derivatives increased $382.7 billion, mostly reflecting an increase in U.S. bond prices that raised the value of portfolio investment liabilities.
What’s Going On?
This is a function of trade balance math. The US runs a trade deficit with the rest of the world, every month.
The net effect is in excess of $7.5 trillion.
If you seek a solution, please see Hugo Salinas Price and Michael Pettis on the Trade Imbalance Dilemma; Gold’s Honest Discipline Revisited.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock