Deficit means in general that the sum or balance of positive and negative amounts is negative, or that the total of negatives is larger than the total of positives.
Deficit can be used in different statistical areas:
- in balance of payments statistics, it refers to the balance of credit (negative) and debit (positive) transactions of a given economy with the rest of the world, organized in two different accounts: the current account; and the capital and financial account;
- in external trade statistics, it refers to the trade balance of imports (negative, as they have to be paid for) and exports (positive, because they yield revenue), which may result in a trade deficit.
- in government finance statistics, it refers to the public balance between government revenue and expenditure, a budget deficit when negative. The surplus or deficit is defined on the basis of the national accounts balancing item net lending (+)/ net borrowing (-).