Until the 1970s, the Congo's chronic trade deficit led to an annual payments deficit. With the growth of oil revenues, the balance of payments became positive; this trend did not last long, however, since the deficit in services grew even faster than the trade surplus during the early 1980s. In recent years, imports have represented over 70% of private consumption.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2001 the purchasing power parity of Congo's exports was $2.6 billion while imports totaled $725 million resulting in a trade surplus of $1.875 billion.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reports that in 1997 the Republic of the Congo had exports of goods totaling $1.74 billion and imports totaling $803 million. The services credit totaled $56 million and debit $565 million. The following table summarizes Congo's balance of payments as reported by the IMF for 1997 in millions of US dollars.
|Balance on goods||941|
|Balance on services||-510|
|Balance on income||-664|
|Direct investment abroad||…|
|Direct investment in Republic of the Congo||…|
|Portfolio investment assets||…|
|Portfolio investment liabilities||…|
|Other investment assets||-4|
|Other investment liabilities||-170|
|Net Errors and Omissions||-122|
|Reserves and Related Items||548|