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Balance of Payments: April 2018

20/06/2018 - Press Releases

Current account

In April 2018, the current account showed a deficit of €1.3 billion, up by €838 million year-on-year, mainly due to the deterioration in the balance of goods and the balance of the primary income account. Moreover, the surplus of the services balance decreased, while the secondary income account improved.

The rise in the deficit of the balance of goods by €503 million is mainly attributable to the higher net oil import bill. The deficit of the balance of goods excluding oil showed a small increase (€73 million), because the relevant imports increased in absolute terms more than exports. Nevertheless, exports of goods rose by 11.3% (5.9% at constant prices).

A contraction in the services surplus is due to lower net receipts, mainly from travel services, as travel receipts did not change considerably, despite a rise of 9.6% in arrivals, while payments showed a much stronger increase. The deterioration in the transport balance is attributable to a worsening in the balance of other transport excluding sea transport, while the sea transport balance improved. Net other services receipts declined as well.

In the January-April 2018 period, the current account showed a deficit of €4.2 billion, up by €891 million year-on-year. This development is attributable to the deterioration in all its main components.

The deficit of the balance of goods grew, mainly owing to the higher net oil import bill. The balance of goods excluding oil also worsened to a smaller degree.

The decline in the services surplus is mainly attributable to a deterioration in the other services balance. The travel surplus narrowed, despite an increase in non-residents' arrivals and the corresponding receipts by 11.5% and 7.4%, respectively, due to a rise in related payments. The transport balance also worsened slightly.

Lastly, a decline was registered in the surpluses of the primary and the secondary income accounts.

Capital account

In April 2018, the capital account did not change substantially, while in the January-April 2018 period the capital account surplus shrank by €48 million year-on-year.

Combined current and capital account

In April 2018, the combined current and capital account (corresponding to the economy’s external financing requirements) showed a deficit of €1.4 billion, up by €838 million year-on-year. In the January-April 2018 period, the combined current and capital account showed a deficit of €4.0 billion, up by €939 million year-on-year.

Financial account

In April 2018, under direct investment, residents' net external assets dropped by €192 million. The most important transactions were the sale of Eurobank's subsidiary in Romania (Bancpost S.A.) and the sale of Piraeus Bank's subsidiary in Serbia (Piraeus Bank A.D. Beograd). Residents' net external liabilities, which represent non-residents' direct investment in Greece, grew by €375 million.

Under portfolio investment, a net increase in residents' external assets is mainly attributable to a rise of €105 million in residents' holdings of foreign bonds and Treasury bills. A net increase in their liabilities is mainly due to a rise of €771 million in non-residents' holdings of Greek government bonds and Treasury bills.

Under other investment, a net decrease in residents' external assets is mainly attributable to a decline of €946 million in residents’ deposit and repo holdings abroad and to the statistical adjustment related to holdings of banknotes (1). A net decline in liabilities reflects mainly a fall of €1.3 billion in non-residents' deposit and repo holdings in Greece (the TARGET account included).

In the January-April 2018 period, under direct investment, residents' net external assets increased by €253 million and residents' net external liabilities, which represent non-residents' direct investment in Greece, rose by €1.2 billion.

Under portfolio investment, a net decrease in residents' external assets is chiefly attributable to a decline of €1.8 billion in residents' holdings of foreign bonds and Treasury bills. A net increase in their liabilities is mainly due to a rise of €4.2 billion in non-residents' holdings of Greek government bonds and Treasury bills.

Under other investment, a net decrease in residents' external assets reflects mainly the statistical adjustment related to holdings of euro banknotes and, secondarily, a decline of €1.6 billion in residents' deposit and repo holdings abroad (2). A net decline in liabilities reflects chiefly a drop of €10.3 billion in non-residents' deposit and repo holdings in Greece (the TARGET account included), which was partly offset by a €4.8 billion increase in the outstanding debt of the public and the private sector to non-residents.

At end-April 2018, Greece’s reserve assets stood at €6.7 billion, compared with €6.5 billion at end-April 2017.

Note: Balance of payments data for May 2018 will be released on 23 July 2018.

 

(1) In April 2018, both assets and liabilities registered a decrease on account of the statistical adjustment related to holdings of euro banknotes, which came to €577 million and €521 million, respectively.
(2) In the January-April 2018 period, both assets and liabilities registered a decrease on account of the statistical adjustment related to holdings of euro banknotes, which came to €2.4 billion and €2.3 billion, respectively.

Related link: Balance of Payments: April 2018 - Table

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