Balance of payments accounts are normally presented in the form of a double-entry book-keeping account so that for every credit there is a corresponding debit.If each entry is given an appropriate sign (plus or minus) the total will necessarily be zero. Thus, to assess performance from such an account it is necessary to divide the component items in some way, and look at developments in particular groups of items. Without some such grouping and simplification, the presentation and discussion of the balance of payments becomes confused. On the other hand, there is a risk of implying too sharp a contrast, too great a difference of kind rather than of degree between the items allocated to different groups.
Published on 01 December 1964