Explain the Fundamental Relationship among Saving, Investment, Fiscal Balance, and Trade Balance

Trade Balance

The trade balance refers to the balance that should exist between the trade and capital between a country and the rest of the world. There exists a very strong relationship among saving, investment, the fiscal balance and the trade balance.

Savings and investments relate in the sense that when savings increase, investment decreases. Also, as the level of investment increases, the level of savings falls. Therefore, this is an inverse relationship.

GDP = C + I + G + (X – M)


C = Amount spent by consumers on final goods and services

I = Gross private domestic investment. It consists of business investments in capital goods as well as changes in inventory.

G = Government expenditure on finished goods and services.

X = Export

M = Imports

T = Net taxes

S = Saving in the private sector

Saving and Investment

Saving can be absorbed in three different ways. Firstly, it can be absorbed into Investment spending (I). Secondly, it can be absorbed into financing government deficits (G – T). Lastly, it can be absorbed into building up financial claims for or against other economies. For a positive trade balance, (X – M) > 0. However, for a trade deficit, (X – M) < 0. This implies that domestic saving can be supplemented by inflowing foreign saving; hence overseas economies build up financial claims against the domestic economy. Therefore, the savings equation can be written as:

S = I + (G –T) + (X – M)

Fiscal Policy

Rearranging the saving function gives us an equation for the fiscal deficit:

G – T = (S – I) – (X – M)

A fiscal deficit shows that the private sector requires increasing its saving and reducing investment. In this case, (S – I) > 0. Alternatively, the country might resolve to run a trade deficit with respect to corresponding inflow in foreign saving, such that (X – M) < 0.


When aggregate expenditure equals aggregate output, the government’s fiscal deficit must be equal to:

A. Private saving – Investment – Net exports

B. Private saving – Investment + Net exports

C. Investment – Private saving + Net exports


The correct answer is A.

The relationship among saving, investment, the fiscal balance, and the trade balance can be expressed by the equation S = I + (G –T) + (X – M). This means that expenditures on investment, net exports and government fiscal balance must be funded by private saving.


Reading 16 LOS 16e:

Explain the fundamental relationship among saving, investment, the fiscal balance, and the trade balance

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