written by | November 8, 2022

Trade Surplus Concept Explained With Examples

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A trade surplus is an economic indicator indicating a favorable trade balance when a nation's exports are more than its imports. 

When the outcome of the following computation is positive, there is a trade surplus:

Trade Balance = Total Value of Exports − Total Value of Imports

This figure (the Trade Balance) is positive when a nation exports more than it imports. A trade surplus is present when the number is positive. The Trade Balance turns negative when a nation imports more than it exports. There is a trade deficit as a result.

Whether or not the Trade Balance is a reliable indication of a nation's economic health will mainly rely on the circumstances surrounding its use. For instance, a nation may increase its exports during a recession to boost its economy by increasing consumer demand and the number of employment available. However, this might go awry if the nation practices trade protectionism to preserve its trade surplus. This is accomplished by imposing different import penalties, such as tariffs or quotas. A trade war breaks out following hostile responses from nations, which ultimately harms the economy of all parties.

Did You Know? The US last had a trade surplus in 1975. Trade surplus creates employment and economic growth, but within an economy, it can also lead to higher prices and interest rates

Understanding Concepts Of Trade Surplus

A trade surplus may boost the economy's employment and economic growth, but it can also raise prices and interest rates. The value of a nation's currency on the international markets can also be impacted by its trade balance since it enables that nation to trade away the bulk of its money.

The strength of a nation's currency concerning other currencies is sometimes aided by a trade surplus, which affects currency exchange rates. However, this depends on the number of products and services produced in a country relative to other countries and market conditions.

A trade surplus indicates strong demand for a country's products on the international market, which drives up the price of such products and directly strengthens the home currency. A trade surplus also suggests that a nation's goods and services are in great demand abroad, which tends to drive up their prices and support the strengthening of the national currency.

Also Read: Top Performing Import-Export Business Ideas In India

Importance of Trade Surplus

Although a trade surplus might boost jobs and the economy, it can also push up prices and interest rates. A country's trade balance, which enables it to export the majority of its currency through commerce, can also impact the value of its currency on international markets.

A trade surplus frequently tends to strengthen a nation's currency compared to other currencies, affecting currency exchange rates. The number of a country's products and services relative to those of other nations and other market conditions will determine this, though.

Trade Surplus in India

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry publishes the trade balance in US dollars. Before April 1990, the International Monetary Fund was the source of the trade balance. India's trade balance showed a deficit of USD 11.3 billion in December 2019, down from USD 12.2 billion the month before.

The monthly updates to India's trade balance statistics show an average loss of USD -369.7 million from January 1957 to December 2019. According to the most recent statistics, India's total exports in December 2019 were USD 27.4 billion, down 1.6% from the previous year. In December 2019, total imports totalled USD 38.6 billion, a decline of 8.8% from the previous year.

Balance of Trade in India has averaged around -3.21 USD Billion since 1957 until 2022, reaching an all time high of 0.79 USD Billion in June of 2020 and a record low of -30.00 USD Billion in July of 2022.

Trade Deficit Vs Trade Surplus

A trade deficit is the reverse of a trade surplus. Currency exchange rates often experience the reverse impact of a trade deficit. In terms of international commerce, a country's currency demand is lower when imports outpace exports. Currency has a lower value in overseas markets because there is less demand.

While trade balances often have a significant impact on currency swings, governments may control a few things that reduce the importance of trade balances. Countries may also decide on a pegged exchange rate, which maintains a set exchange rate for each nation's currency.

A currency's exchange rate is regarded as floating if it is not fixed to another. In the currency market, one of the biggest trading venues on the global financial market, floating exchange rates are very volatile and susceptible to daily trading whims.

Also Read: Bill of Lading – Meaning, Types, and Usage for Importers and Exporters

Is Trade Surplus Good?

Selling more than purchasing is typically viewed as a positive. A trade surplus indicates that the nation's goods are in great demand, which should lead to the creation of many jobs and accelerate economic growth. However, that does not always imply that the nations with trade deficits are in dire straits. Every economy runs differently, and those that have historically imported more goods, like the United States, frequently do so for good reasons. 

Advantages of Trade Surplus

The strongest economies in the world are represented on both lists of the nations with the biggest trade surpluses and deficits, as you will quickly find out.

The following are a few advantages, or benefits, of a trade surplus for a nation:

Job Creation

A trade surplus indicates that more products and services are produced domestically. There will be more employment created as a result of this higher production.

Additional Resources For Investments

When a nation enjoys a trade surplus, it also has additional resources. If this is the case, the money may be used to modernize various businesses and sectors, increasing their productivity.

Less Government Expenditure

When excess money is available due to a trade surplus, different businesses and industries require less financial assistance from the government. Instead, this public money might be used to improve infrastructure, benefiting the country.

Also Read: What Is an Air Waybill? Explanation with Example

Disadvantages of Trade Surplus

The economy of a country may suffer from a trade surplus. A few of these are:

Higher levels of inflation

Inflation is the process whereby the value of money decreases when there are more people than jobs in an economy. Additionally, a trade surplus might result in increased prices, which fuels inflation.

If Trade Surpluses Disappears it Can Create Economic Problems 

Another significant disadvantage of trade surpluses is that high net exports can represent a drain on national savings. When a nation experiences a large supply of goods, they can find themselves having difficulties maintaining their inflation rates. Because the economy is not being supported by traditional forms of economic growth, it then becomes more challenging to make economic adjustments in other areas. Significant changes in domestic prices could even lead to financial crises within the economy.

Natural Resource Degradation

Some nations can offer natural resources as their major export goods. A small country might have a supply of natural resources it can sell to a big country like the U.S. or China, but as it extracts these resources and exports them, the surrounding ecology is damaged and the natural resource might eventually vanish. 

Key Takeaways

  • A trade surplus is an economic indicator indicating a favourable trade balance when a nation's exports are more than its imports.
  • A trade surplus is the polar opposite of this.
  • A trade surplus can boost jobs and the economy, but it can also result in higher prices, higher interest rates, and a more costly currency.

What is Balance of Trade (BOT)?

The balance of trade, which is typically represented in the currency of a specific nation or economic union, is the value difference over time between a nation's imports and exports of commodities and services (e.g., dollars for the United States, pounds sterling for the United Kingdom, or euros for the European Union). 

The balance of payments, which includes capital movements (money flowing into a country paying high-interest rates of return), loan repayment, tourist expenditures, freight and insurance costs, and other payments, is a more significant economic unit that includes the balance of trade. The balance of payments is the total of all economic transactions between one country and its trading partners worldwide.

A country is said to have a positive trade balance or a trade surplus if its exports surpass its imports. Conversely, a negative trade balance, or trade deficit, develops if imports outpace exports. The mercantilist economic theory, predominant in Europe from the 16-18th century, claimed that maintaining a favourable trade balance was essential.

A persistent surplus might indicate unused resources that, if used to fund the purchase or production of products or services, might boost a nation's prosperity. Additionally, a country's (or group of countries) excess may have the ability to cause abrupt and unequal changes in the economy of those nations where it is ultimately spent.

Since they must pay comparatively higher prices for the finished goods, they import during recessions. However, they receive comparatively lower prices for their raw materials or unfinished goods exports. Developing countries typically have difficulty maintaining surpluses (unless they have a monopoly on a crucial commodity).

Also Read: Certificate of Origin – Issuing Authority, Importance, Types and Procedure

Conclusion:

In general, people prefer trade surpluses over trade deficits. Politicians' recent emphasis on defending domestic industry has given rise to several trade conflicts and tariffs in some situations. 

Importers have been seen as losers due to international unrest and a rise in nationalism. That's not always the case, especially if relations between people are cordial. When it makes financial sense, international trade and importation of goods might be considered positive. 

In reality, several of the world's most powerful economies are in a trade deficit, suggesting that trade is not a zero-sum activity and that importing more than you sell isn't always a negative thing.

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FAQs

Q: Is a Trade Surplus Good or Bad?

Ans:

Selling more than buying is considered a good thing. A trade surplus means the things the country produces are in high demand, which should create lots of jobs and fuel economic growth.

Q: Who is the world's largest importer?

Ans:

The United States is the world's largest importer of goods, followed by China and Germany.

Q: Who has the largest trade deficit?

Ans:

Countries with a trade deficit spend more money in a year than it receives from its exports. Some nations around the world have trade deficits, including the United Kingdom, Mexico, Brazil, and the United States. The United States has the largest trade deficit in the world.

Q: Is India a trade surplus country?

Ans:

India records trade surpluses with the US, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, United Kingdom and Vietnam.

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Disclaimer :
The information, product and services provided on this website are provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis without any warranty or representation, express or implied. Khatabook Blogs are meant purely for educational discussion of financial products and services. Khatabook does not make a guarantee that the service will meet your requirements, or that it will be uninterrupted, timely and secure, and that errors, if any, will be corrected. The material and information contained herein is for general information purposes only. Consult a professional before relying on the information to make any legal, financial or business decisions. Use this information strictly at your own risk. Khatabook will not be liable for any false, inaccurate or incomplete information present on the website. Although every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this website is updated, relevant and accurate, Khatabook makes no guarantees about the completeness, reliability, accuracy, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, product, services or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Khatabook will not be liable for the website being temporarily unavailable, due to any technical issues or otherwise, beyond its control and for any loss or damage suffered as a result of the use of or access to, or inability to use or access to this website whatsoever.