Payment made between countries, whether in settlement of a trade debt, as a unilateral transfer of funds, for capital investment, or for some other purpose. The reasons for such payments and the methods of making them and accounting for them are matters of concern to economists and national governments. International debts are settled either from accumulated balances of foreign currency or claims on foreign currency, or by loans from creditor to debtor, or by drawing on the International Monetary Fund, or by movements of gold. How a country balances its international accounts is one of the most important decisions for its balance of payments.
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