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Balance of Payments: January 2019

21/03/2019 - Press Releases

Current account

In January 2019, the current account showed a deficit of €1.2 billion, up by €487 million year-on-year, due to a deterioration in all balance of payments components, excluding the services balance.

The deficit of the balance of goods grew, as a result of a worsening primarily in the non-oil balance of goods and, secondarily, in the oil balance. Exports of goods at current prices declined, due to a decrease in oil exports, while non-oil exports of goods continued their upward path, both at current and at constant prices, albeit at a slower pace than a year earlier (by 3.6% at current prices and by 5.1% at constant prices). At the same time, imports of goods rose by 3.4% at current prices and by 3.9% at constant prices.

The surplus of the services balance increased, mainly as a result of an improvement in the transport balance, which is due to a rise of 17.4% in net sea transport receipts year-on-year. At the same time, the travel services balance also increased remarkably. Specifically, non residents’ arrivals and relevant receipts rose by 9.4% and 53.2%, respectively.

Lastly, a decrease in the surpluses of the primary and secondary income accounts was mainly attributable to a drop in net receipts from other primary income and the general government, respectively.

Capital account

In January 2019, the capital account registered a surplus of € 260 million, larger by €76 million than in January 2018, mainly due to an increase in general government net receipts.

Combined current and capital account

In January 2019, the combined current and capital account (corresponding to the economy’s external financing requirements) showed a deficit of €923 million, up by €411 million year-on-year.

Financial account

In January 2019, under direct investment, residents' external liabilities (non-residents' direct investment in Greece) increased by €302 million. The most important transaction was the participation of Brevan Howard Asset Management LLP (United Kingdom) in the share capital of Orilina Properties Real Estate Investment Company.

Under portfolio investment, a decrease in residents' external assets is chiefly attributable to a decline of €1.0 billion in residents' holdings of foreign bonds and Treasury bills. An increase in residents’ external liabilities is mainly due to a rise of €518 million in non residents’ holdings of Greek government bonds and Treasury bills.

Under other investment, a decrease in residents' external assets mainly reflects a decline of €852 million in residents' (credit institutions, institutional investors and corporations) deposits and repo holdings abroad. A decline in external liabilities is primarily attributable to a drop of €1.7 billion in non residents’ deposits and repo holdings in Greece.

At end-January 2019, Greece’s foreign reserve assets increased slightly year-on-year (€6.6 billion, from €6.5 billion).

Note: Balance of payments data for February 2019 will be released on 19 April 2019.

Related link: Balance of payments: January - Table

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