Since the turn of the millennium sizeable and above all persistent current account imbalances have accumulated around the world. Advanced economies with a relatively high share of manufacturing tend to have current account surpluses. One reason for this is the dominant role played by transactions involving goods in an expanding world trade. An additional factor is the catching-up process in the emerging and developing countries, which picked up speed just over ten years ago and has been accompanied by a marked boom in investment. There is a close connection between the net trade balance and the share of production related to capital goods. Countries with a relatively large manufacturing sector specialising in capital equipment are correspondingly better placed to achieve trade surpluses.