Balance of payments: JULY 2003
18/09/2003 - Press Releases
account balance showed a small surplus in July 2003, as had also been the case
in July 2002. This mainly reflects a considerable increase in the transfers
surplus, which more than offset the widening of the income account deficit. The
trade and services balances remained virtually unchanged.
to the trade balance, both exports and imports did not change significantly over
July 2002. The small rise in the services surplus mainly stemmed from an
increase in net transport (notably sea transport) receipts. Net travel receipts
fell slightly, as the decline in gross receipts was almost offset by the
decrease in gross payments. The July data for travel receipts and payments are
comparable year-on-year and are derived from a border survey. The income account
deficit more than doubled compared with July 2002; this mainly reflects the rise
in interest payments on Greek government bonds, following increased investment
by non-residents in such securities during the January-July 2003 period. Finally,
the growth of the transfers surplus mainly reflects a rise in net EU transfers
to the general government sector.
2003, the non-oil trade deficit fell; at the same time, the services surplus
increased. These positive developments were offset by a widening of the oil
trade deficit and the income account deficit and a narrowing of the transfers
surplus. As a result, the current account deficit rose by €866 million
compared with the same period in 2002.
trade deficit decreased by €384 million in January-July 2003, as export
receipts grew by €278 million and the import bill declined by €106 million.
At the same time, however, the net oil import bill rose by €572 million. Over
the same period, the services surplus grew, as the increase in net transport
receipts more than offset the decrease in net travel receipts. (It should be
recalled that figures for travel receipts and payments for the entire January-July
2003 period are not comparable with those for the corresponding period of 2002,
as their compilation on the basis of a border survey started in mid-May 2002).
The income account deficit widened by €560 million, mainly owing to an
increase in net payments for interest, dividends and profits (for the reasons
discussed above). Finally, underlying the narrowing (by €500 million) of the
transfers surplus was a reduction in transfers from the EU to the general
government sector, which more than offset the increase of net transfers to the
In July 2003,
financial flows under direct investment were low. Under portfolio investment, a
net outflow of €908 million was observed, mainly reflecting non-residents'
disinvestment in Greek government bonds and, to a lesser extent, residents’
net acquisition of foreign bonds and shares. Finally, as regards "other
investment", a net inflow of €1,132 million was recorded, mainly
connected with a decrease in domestic credit institutions’ and institutional
investors’ deposits and repo holdings abroad, as well as with an increase in
non-residents’ deposits and repo holdings in Greece.
2003, a considerable net inflow of €10,520 million was recorded under
portfolio investment. This development is mainly connected with an inflow of
foreign investors’ funds for the purchase of Greek government bonds, which
more than doubled year-on-year. At the same time, residents’ portfolio
investment abroad grew considerably, mainly owing to the purchase by the Bank of
Greece of bonds issued by euro area Member States, in the context of the
restructuring of the Bank’s portfolio. During the same period, a net outflow
of €580 million was observed under direct investment. Finally, under
‘‘other investment’’, a net outflow of €8,022 million was recorded.
This is associated with a considerable increase in residents’ (mainly credit
institutions’) deposits and repo holdings abroad, substantial general
government loan repayments and a decrease in deposits and repo holdings by non-residents.
’s reserve assets stood at €5.1 billion. (It should be
recalled that, since
joined the euro area in January 2001, reserve assets, as
defined by the European Central Bank, include only monetary gold, the "reserve
position" with the IMF, "Special Drawing Rights" and Bank of
Greece 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).
of payments data for August 2003 will be released on
17 October 2003