Libya customarily registered balance-of-payments surpluses from 1962 until 1981, thanks to large trade surpluses derived from the export of oil. Declining oil production caused payments deficits from 1981 to 1984. The services and transfers accounts are in deficit because of travel by Libyans abroad, transportation costs, payments to foreign contractors, and remittances by foreign workers. The capital account is also usually in deficit because of Libyan aid and investment abroad. Foreign debt is difficult to calculate because trade debts are often settled by the barter supply of oil.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2001 the purchasing power parity of Libya's exports was $13.1 billion while imports totaled $8.7 billion resulting in a trade surplus of $4.4 billion.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reports that in 1999 Libya had exports of goods totaling $6.76 billion and imports totaling $4 billion. The services credit totaled $55 million and debit $918 million. The following table summarizes Libya's balance of payments as reported by the IMF for 1999 in millions of US dollars.
|Balance on goods||2,762|
|Balance on services||-863|
|Balance on income||289|
|Direct investment abroad||-210|
|Direct investment in Libya||-119|
|Portfolio investment assets||-3|
|Portfolio investment liabilities||…|
|Other investment assets||-293|
|Other investment liabilities||-346|
|Net Errors and Omissions||-372|
|Reserves and Related Items||-641|