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Balance of payments: JANUARY 2003

17/03/2003 - Press Releases

Current account balance

In January 2003, the current account balance recorded a €1,284 million deficit, €326 million higher than in January 2001. This increase resulted mainly from the widening of the trade deficit and the narrowing of the transfers surplus, while the income account deficit also grew. There was little change in the services surplus.

In particular, the widening of the trade deficit was mainly accounted for by the considerable rise in the net oil import bill. By contrast, the non-oil trade deficit was reduced, since the decrease in export receipts was more than offset by the decline in the import bill. There was no significant change in the services surplus, as there was a small drop in net receipts from travel and other services, and a small rise in net transport receipts. The income account deficit increased because of the rise in net payments for interest, dividends and profits. Finally, the narrowing of the transfers surplus reflects the fall in net receipts of general government (mainly net receipts from the EU).

Financial account balance

In January 2003, residents' direct investment abroad came to €229 million, of which €197 million regard the participation of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) in the capital increase of ROMTELECOM in Romania. Under portfolio investment, a net inflow of €1,189 million was recorded, mainly reflecting the inflow of non-residents' funds for the purchase of Greek bonds. As regards "other investment", a net outflow of €376 million was recorded, connected mainly to the increase in deposits and repo holdings abroad by residents.

At end-January 2003, Greece’s reserve assets came to €8.4 billion. (It should be recalled that, since Greece joined the euro area in January 2001, reserve assets, as defined by the European Central Bank, include only monetary gold, the "reserve position" at the IMF, "Special Drawing Rights", and Bank of Greece's claims in foreign currency on residents of non-euro area countries. Conversely, reserve assets do not include claims in euro on residents of non-euro area countries, claims in foreign currency and in euro on residents of euro area countries, and the Bank of Greece participation in the capital and the reserve assets of the ECB.)

Note: Balance of payment data for February 2003 will be released on 14 April 2003.

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