Press Releases

Balance of payments: September 2017

20/11/2017 - Press Releases

Current account

In September 2017, the current account showed a surplus of €1.2 billion, up by €348 million year-on-year, as a result of, primarily, an increase in the surplus of the services balance and, secondarily, a decrease in the deficit of the balance of goods, which were partly offset by a rise in the deficits of the primary and the secondary income account.
The decrease in the deficit of the balance of goods is attributable to a narrowing in the deficit of the oil balance. It should be noted that non-oil exports of goods rose by 5.7% at current prices and by 2.3% at constant prices. The rise in the surplus of the services balance is due mostly to an improvement in the travel balance, since non-residents' arrivals and the corresponding receipts increased by 11.8% and 15.5%, respectively. The surplus of the transport balance grew solely on account of higher net sea transport receipts.
In the January-September 2017 period, the current account showed a surplus of €1.3 billion, which was double the surplus recorded in the same period of the previous year. This development reflects improvements mainly in the services balance and, to a lesser extent, the primary and the secondary income account, which more than offset an increase in the deficit of the balance of goods.
A widening in the deficit of the balance of goods is mostly the result of a rise in the deficit on the oil balance. It should be noted that non-oil exports of goods increased by 8.7% and 5.8% at current and constant prices, respectively. A rise in the surplus of the services balance is attributable to an improvement in all of its main components. More specifically, as regards the travel balance, both non-residents' arrivals and the corresponding receipts grew by 10.3%. Moreover, transport receipts rose by 17.1%.

Capital account

In September 2017, no significant changes were registered in the capital account, while in the January-September 2017 period a surplus of €353 million was recorded, compared with a surplus of €613 million in the same period of 2016.

Combined current and capital account

In September 2017, the combined current and capital account (corresponding to the economy's external financing requirements) registered a surplus of €1.2 billion, up by €353 million year-on-year, while in the January-September 2017 period it showed a surplus of €1.7 billion, up by €423 million year-on-year.

Financial account

In September 2017, in the category of direct investment, residents' net external assets increased by €135 million. The most important transaction was the acquisition of the Dutch company Stone Works Holdings Coöperatief U.A. by Pavlidis S.A. Marble-Granite. Residents' net external liabilities, which represent non-residents' direct investment in Greece, rose by €305 million. The most important transaction was the sale of a 100% stake in TRAINOSE S.A. to the Italian company Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane S.p.A.
Under portfolio investment, a net decrease in residents' external assets is largely attributable to a decline of €340 million in residents' holdings of foreign bonds and Treasury bills. A net increase in their liabilities is mainly due to a rise of €1.8 billion in non-residents' holdings of Greek government bonds and Treasury bills.
Under other investment, a decrease was recorded in residents' assets and liabilities. The latter reflects to a large extent a fall of €2.8 billion in non-residents' deposit and repo holdings in Greece (the TARGET account included). (1)
In the January-September 2017 period, under direct investment, residents' external assets rose by €381 million and the corresponding liabilities by €3.0 billion.
Under portfolio investment, a net decrease in residents' external assets reflects mainly a drop of €8.3 billion in residents' holdings of foreign bonds and Treasury bills, while a net decline in liabilities mainly reflects a decrease of €2.0 billion in non-residents' holdings of Greek government bonds and Treasury bills.
Under other investment, a net decrease in residents' assets largely reflects a decline of €2.2 billion in residents' (credit institutions' and institutional investors') deposit and repo holdings abroad. A net decrease in liabilities largely reflects a drop of €16.7 billion in non-residents' deposit and repo holdings in Greece (the TARGET account included), which more than offset an increase of €4.6 billion in the outstanding debt of the public and the private sector to non-residents. (2)
At end-September 2017, Greece’s reserve assets stood at €6.6 billion, compared with €6.8 billion at end-September 2016.


Note: Balance of payments statistics for October 2017 will be released on 21 December 2017.

(1) In September 2017, both assets and liabilities registered a decrease on account of the statistical adjustment related to holdings of euro banknotes, which came to €1.0 billion and €1.2 billion, respectively.

 (2) In the January-September 2017 period, both assets and liabilities registered a decrease on account of the statistical adjustment related to holdings of euro banknotes, which came to €5.7 billion and €6.2 billion, respectively.

Related link: Balance of payments: September 2017 - Table

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