Balance of Payments: January 2017
23/03/2017 - Press Releases
In January 2017, the current account showed a deficit of €271 million, down by €500 million year-on-year. This improvement is attributable to an amelioration in the primary and the secondary income account. By contrast, the balance of goods and services deteriorated, as an increase in the deficit of the balance of goods offset a rise in the surplus of the services balance. More specifically, total exports of goods and services rose, but at the same time imports grew at a stronger pace.
The deficit of the balance of goods increased year-on-year, primarily on account of a rise in the deficit of the balance of goods excluding oil and ships and, secondarily, due to the higher net oil import bill. It should be noted that the increase in both exports and imports in January 2017 was mainly driven by developments in the oil balance. The large increase in the value of oil exports and imports is mainly due to a rise in international oil prices. Exports of goods excluding oil and ships grew by 4.3% at constant prices and the corresponding imports by 12.1%.
The surplus of the services balance expanded by €95 million year-on-year, mainly as a result of higher net (mostly sea) transport receipts, while net travel receipts declined. More specifically, the inbound flow of non-resident travellers decreased by 6.9% and the corresponding receipts by 2.4%.
In January 2017, the primary income account showed a surplus of €650 million, up by €509 million year-on-year. This development is entirely attributable to higher net receipts under other primary income, which includes taxes and subsidies on products and production. The secondary income account showed a surplus of €208 million, against a deficit of €10 million in January 2016, mainly on account of the improved general government balance.
In January 2017, the capital account showed a surplus of €40 million, down by €348 million year-on-year, due to a drop in net capital transfers from the EU to general government.
Combined current and capital account
In January 2017, the combined current and capital account (corresponding to the economy's external financing requirements) showed a deficit of €231 million, down by €153 million year-on-year.
In January 2017, under direct investment, residents' external assets rose by €113 million without any remarkable transactions. Residents' external liabilities, which represent non-residents' direct investment in Greece, increased by €271 million. The most important transactions concern (a) the participation of the parent company ΝΝ Continental Europe Holdings B.V. (Netherlands) in the capital increase of NN Hellenic Life Insurance Co. S.A. and (b) the redemption of additional shares of Astir Palace Vouliagmeni S.A. by the company Apollo Investment Holdco SARL (Luxembourg).
Under portfolio investment, an increase in residents' external assets is chiefly attributable to a rise (of €301 million) in residents' holdings of foreign bonds and Treasury bills. An increase in liabilities reflects mainly a rise (of €210 million) in non-residents' holdings of Greek government bonds and Treasury bills.
Under other investment, a decrease in residents' assets reflects, primarily, a drop due to the statistical adjustment (€657 million) related to holdings of euro banknotes and, secondarily, decreases in loans extended to non-residents (€121 million) and in residents' (credit institutions' and institutional investors') deposit and repo holdings abroad (€181 million). Liabilities in this category fell, reflecting the statistical adjustment (€630 million) and a drop in non-residents' deposit and repo holdings in Greece (€401 million, the ΤARGET account included), which was offset to a small extent by a rise in the outstanding debt of the public and the private sector to non-residents (€74 million).
At end-January 2017, Greece’s reserve assets stood at €6.4 billion, compared with €5.6 billion at end-January 2016.
Note: Balance of payments data for February 2017 will be released on 20 April 2017.
Related link: Balance of Payments: January 2017 - Table