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Top 15 OECD Countries with Highest Current Account Surpluses in 2017

Which are the OECD countries with highest current account surpluses in 2017?

If you are looking for which country has the largest trade deficit, that answer is easy – the United States of America. When taken into consideration the sheer value of the trade deals they have, the US leads by far because while its exports are high, its imports are much higher. You might wonder which countries are benefiting from this huge volume of US imports.

Top 15 Countries with Highest Current Account Deficit in 2017

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So, in order to find the top trade surplus countries, we decided to use Google to kick off. We found several sets of data, some taking into consideration the sheer value of the trade deficit, and others that put those values into perspective by taking into consideration the country’s GDP. Sure, the USA will have a very high value trade deficit, but it’s not going to mean as much because the GDP is also high. In the end, in order to give you the best answer to the questions of the current account balance by country, we decided to rank them all by the percentage of the GDP they represent.

It should be noted that this isn’t the same as the budget deficit or surplus. The list of countries by budget deficit/surplus would be led by far by the small Timor-Leste out near Indonesia. On the list of the budget deficit by country for 2016, Timor-Leste’s deficit runs at close to 90% of the entire GDP.

The list of countries with the largest trade surpluses for 2015 is led by China, followed by Germany and Japan, all countries that sell more than they buy.

Our data for the latest current account surpluses and the ratio of current account surplus to GDP  comesfrom the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) which has the numbers weighed in against the GDP value, as well as the balance of trade by country for 2016.

If you’re interested in trade information, you might also want to take a look at the 10 Countries that Export the Most Fruit in the World, or the 10 Easiest Countries To Export To since those are interesting reads, too.

That being said, check out the top 15 OECD countries with highest current account surpluses in 2017.

15. Italy

% of GDP: 2.6
Surplus value: $47.36 billion

Italy isn’t a very large country, but it already runs a trade surplus of over $47 billion, and a current account surplus of 2.6% of its GDP.

The largest chunk of the country’s exports is represented by machinery, mechanical appliances, nuclear reactors, boilers and parts for these, followed by the automotive industry and the section of economy that builds electrical machinery and equipment, sound recorders and reproducers and TVs.

When it comes to imports, Italy buys cars, mineral fuels and oils, as well as whatever falls into the “machinery, mechanical appliances, nuclear reactors, and boilers” category.

Top 15 Countries with Highest Current Account Deficit in 2017

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14. Israel

% of GDP: 3.7
Surplus value: $11.56 billion

Israel comes up next on our list of OECD countries with highest current account surpluses in 2017 with a trade surplus of over $11.5 billion, and a current account surplus of 3.7% of the country’s GDP for 2016.

Israel exports a lot of pearls, precious stones, and metals, electronics, and medicine. When it comes to imports, Israel buys a lot of machinery, mechanical appliances, nuclear reactors, and boilers, electronics, and pearls, precious stones and metals, and jewelry.

Top 15 Countries with Highest Current Account Deficit in 2017

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13. Japan

% of GDP: 3.7
Trade surplus value: $183.18 billion

Japan is the 13th on our list, with a surplus value of $183 billion, and a current account surplus of 3.7% of the country’s GDP.

Japan’s biggest export category is made out of cars, followed by machinery, mechanical appliances, nuclear reactors, and boilers, as well as electronics. What does Japan import? Well, the biggest chunk is mineral fuels and oils, followed by electronics, and all types of machinery.

Top 15 Countries with Highest Current Account Deficit in 2017

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12. Sweden

% of GDP: 4.5
Surplus value: $23.04 billion

Next up is Europe’s Sweden, with a trade surplus of $23 billion, and a current account surplus of 4.5% of the GDP.

Sweden exports a lot of machinery, and mechanical appliances, as well as cars and electronics. Amusingly, Sweden’s import list looks the same

Top 15 Countries with Highest Current Account Deficit in 2017

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11. Ireland

% of GDP: 4.6
Trade surplus value: $13.86 billion

Next on our list is Ireland, a country with a trade surplus of $13.8 billion, and a current account surplus of 4.6% of the country’s GDP.

Ireland’s biggest export categories are pharmaceutical products, followed by organic chemicals, and optical, photographic, cinematographic, medical or surgical instruments and apparatus.

The country likes to import aircraft, spacecraft, and parts for them, machinery and mechanical appliances and pharmaceutical products.

Top 15 Countries with Highest Current Account Deficit in 2017

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10. Luxembourg

% of GDP: 4.7
Trade surplus value: $2.82 billion

Tiny Luxembourg is up next with a trade surplus of $2.82 billion, and a current account surplus of 4.7% of the total GDP.

The country’s main export category is “machinery, mechanical appliances, nuclear reactors, and boilers,” followed by iron and steel, as well as plastics and articles made of plastics, with cars following behind.

What could Luxembourg import? Well, the main answer is “cars,” followed by the same machinery they like to export and mineral fuels and oils.

Top 15 Countries with Highest Current Account Deficit in 2017

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9. Norway

% of GDP: 4.9
Trade surplus value: $18.17 billion

We are continuing our list of OECD countries with highest current account surpluses in 2017 with Norway and it’s trade surplus value of $18.17 billion and a current account surplus of 4.9% of the GDP rank it 9th on our list.

The country likes to export loads of mineral fuels and oils, fish, crustaceans and other aquatic animals, as well as machinery and mechanical appliances.

Norway imports the same type of machinery and mechanical appliances, vehicles, and electronic devices.

Top 15 Countries with Highest Current Account Deficit in 2017

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8. Hungary

% of GDP: 5.4
Trade surplus value: $6.72 billion

Up next is Hungary, with the trade surplus of $6.7 billion, and a current account surplus of 5.4% of the country’s GDP. Hungary imports a lot of electronics, machinery, and mechanical appliances, as well as vehicles.

The country’s top exports are electronics, machinery, and mechanical appliances, as well as vehicles.

 

Top 15 Countries with Highest Current Account Deficit in 2017

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7. Slovenia

% of GDP: 6.7
Trade surplus value: $2.98 billion

Next up is Slovenia with a trade surplus of close to $3 billion, and a current account surplus of 6.7% of the GDP.

The country exports vehicles, electronics, and machinery and mechanical appliances, as well as pharmaceutical products. Their import list looks exactly the same, although the fourth position is occupied by mineral fuels and oils.

Top 15 Countries with Highest Current Account Deficit in 2017

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6. Korea

% of GDP: 7
Trade surplus value: $98.67 billion

South Korea is next on our list with a whopping trade surplus of nearly $100 billion, and a current account surplus of 7% of the country’s GDP.

The country exports loads of electronics, followed by vehicles and various types of machinery. They also import loads of mineral fuels and oils, electronics, and machinery.

Top 15 Countries with Highest Current Account Deficit in 2017

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5. Iceland

% of GDP: 7.7
Trade surplus value: $1.57 billion

Iceland is in the fifth place on our list of OECD countries with highest current account surpluses in 2017, with a trade surplus of just $1.57 billion, and a current account surplus of 7.7% of the GDP.

The country exports a lot of fish, crustaceans, mollusks and other aquatic invertebrates, as well as aluminum, iron and steel. Iceland imports loads of electronics, vehicles, and mineral fuels and oils.

Top 15 Countries with Highest Current Account Deficit in 2017

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4. Denmark

% of GDP: 7.9
Trade surplus value: $24.09 billion

With a trade surplus value of $24 billion, and a current account surplus of 7.9% of the GDP, Denmark is next on our list.

For the most part, the northern European country exports machinery and mechanical appliances, pharmaceutical products, electronics, mineral fuels and oils, as well as optical, photographic, cinematographic, medical or surgical instruments and apparatus.

When it comes to imports, Denmark buys a lot of machinery and mechanical appliances, electronics, vehicles, mineral fuels and oils, and pharmaceutical products.

3. Germany

% of GDP: 8.3
Trade surplus value: $288.82 billion

One of the world’s largest economies, Germany comes up next on our list of OECD countries with highest current account surpluses in 2017, with a huge trade surplus of $288.82 billion, and a current account surplus of 8.3% of the country’s GDP.

Germany’s main export is cars, although machinery and mechanical appliances follow closely in value. The country also exports a lot of electronics, pharmaceutical products, and other apparatus.

They also import machinery and mechanical appliances, as well as electronics and vehicles, with similar values going for each of these. Mineral fuels and oils, as well as pharmaceutical products follow next.

Top 15 Countries with Highest Current Account Deficit in 2017

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2. Netherlands

% of GDP: 8.5
Trade surplus value: $65.86 billion

The Netherlands landed on the second spot on our list of OECD countries with highest current account surpluses in 2017 with a trade surplus of close to $66 billion, and a current account surplus of 8.5% of the country’s GDP.

They export a lot of machinery and mechanical appliances, electronics, and other commodities, as well as mineral fuels and oils, and pharmaceutical products.

The country also imports a lot of stuff, particularly various commodities, electronics, mineral fuels and oils, machinery and mechanical appliances, as well as vehicles.

Top 15 Countries with Highest Current Account Deficit in 2017

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1. Switzerland

% of GDP: 10.7
Trade surplus value: $70.55 billion

Finally, at the top of our list we have Switzerland, a country with a trade surplus of $70.55 billion, and a current account surplus of 10.7% of its GDP, which isn’t surprising, considering it’s not the largest country out there.

The country is a big exporter of pearls, precious stones and metals, as well as jewelry, pharmaceutical products, machinery and mechanical appliances, clocks and watches, as well as organic chemicals.

When it comes to imports, the Swiss love buying jewelry, pearls and precious stones, pharmaceutical products, machinery and mechanical appliances, vehicles and electronics. The list also includes mineral fuels and oils, plastics, furniture, clocks, aircraft, spacecraft and parts, iron and steel, aluminum, clothes and more.

That being said, we have now seen which are the top 15 OECD countries with highest current account surpluses in 2017, painting a rather clear picture of how the world works. If you think there is a strong correlation between current account surpluses and prosperity of a country, there are a lot of exceptions. To find out, check out our list of the 25 richest countries in the world by 2017 GDP.

Top 15 Countries with Highest Current Account Deficit in 2017

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