Accounting Definition)

Definition of Financial account

A component of a country’s balance of payments that covers claims on or liabilities to non-residents, specifically in regard to financial assets. Financial account components include direct investment, portfolio investment and reserve assets, and are broken down by sector. When recorded in a country’s balance of payments, claims made by non-residents on the financial assets of residents are considered liabilities, while claims made against non-residents by residents are considered assets. The financial account differs from the capital account in that the capital account deals with transfers of capital assets. Additionally, the financial account can include claims on land.

BREAKING DOWN ' Financial Account'

The financial account involves financial assets, such as gold, currency, derivatives, special drawing rights, equity and bonds. During a complex transaction that contains both capital assets and financial claims, a country may record part of a transaction in its capital account and the other part in its current account. Additionally, because entries in the financial account are net entries that offset credits with debits, they may not appear in a country’s balance of payments, even if transactions are occurring between residents and non-residents.

Easing access to a country’s capital is considered part of a broader movement toward economic liberalization, with a more liberalized financial account providing the benefit of opening a country up to capital markets. Reducing restrictions to the financial account does have its risks. The more a country’s economy is integrated with other economies around the world, the higher the likelihood that economic troubles abroad may find their way back home. This potential outcome is weighed against the potential benefits: lower funding costs, access to global capital markets and increased efficiency.

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