Balance of Payments: January 2015
23/03/2015 - Press Releases
Current account balance
In January 2015, the current account balance showed a deficit of €847 million, up by €511 million year-on-year. This development is primarily attributable to an increase in the deficit of the balance of goods and secondarily to a decrease in the surpluses of the primary and the secondary income accounts. In the same month, the surplus of the services balance did not show any remarkable change.
The deficit of the balance of goods grew by €279 million year-on-year, owing to the higher net import bill for oil and other goods excluding ships, for which net payments declined.
The surplus of the services balance rose slightly due to an improvement in the other services and travel balances. The travel surplus increase resulted from a significant rise (of 50%) in non-residents' arrivals in January, even though the corresponding receipts rose by just 9%. By contrast, the transport balance deteriorated.
The surplus of the primary income account fell by €165 million in January 2015, mainly on account of higher net interest, dividend and profit payments. Net other primary income, which includes taxes and subsidies on products and production, recorded a small drop.
The surplus of the secondary income account fell by €68 million, since the rise in net transfers from the EU to general government was more than offset by the deterioration in the balance of transfers to the other sectors of the economy.
Capital account balance
In January 2015, the capital account improved, showing a surplus of €50 million, against a deficit of €13 million in the same month of 2014, owing to higher net capital transfers to general government.
Combined current and capital account balance
In January 2015, the combined current and capital account balance (corresponding to the economy’s external financing requirements) showed a deficit of €797 million, up by €447 million year-on-year.
Financial account balance
In January 2015, residents’ net external assets rose by €41 million, while the corresponding liabilities that represent non-residents’ direct investment in Greece did not show any notable change.
Under portfolio investment, residents’ external assets recorded a net increase (of €1.3 billion), which mainly reflects a rise (of €2.0 billion) in residents’ investment in shares of foreign firms. Conversely, residents’ net external liabilities declined (by €1.4 billion), mostly on account of a decrease (of €1.4 billion) in non-residents’ holdings of Greek government bonds and Treasury bills.
Under other investment, a net increase (of €9.7 billion) in assets was recorded, owing mainly to a rise (of €4.1 billion) in residents’ deposit and repo holdings abroad. The net increase (of €13.6 billion) in liabilities reflects mainly a rise (of €8.8 billion) in non-residents’ deposit and repo holdings in Greece (the TARGET account included). It should be noted that the statistical adjustment (€5.4 billion), that relates to the issue of (euro) banknotes above the key for subscription to the European Central Bank’s capital and represents liabilities of the Bank of Greece vis-à-vis the Eurosystem, is also recorded under liabilities. This entry is offset by an entry of the same amount in assets that represents residents’ claims on the Eurosystem.
At end-January 2015, Greece’s reserve assets stood at €5.9 billion, compared with €4.6 billion at end-January 2014.
Note: Balance of payments data for February 2015 will be released on 20 April 2015.
Related link: Balance of payments: January 2015 - Table