Balance of payments: MARCH 2002
28/05/2002 - Press Releases
Current account balance
In March 2002, the current account balance recorded a deficit of
603 million euro, which was about half that in March 2001. This decrease resulted mainly
from the reduction in the trade deficit and the significant increase in the transfers
surplus. The services surplus decreased, while the income account deficit increased
The decrease in the trade deficit in comparison with March 2001 is due
primarily to the reduction in the value of net fuel imports and secondarily to the
contraction of the non-oil trade deficit. The bigger surplus of the transfers balance is
attributable to the fact that net EU transfers more than doubled. As far as the services
balance is concerned, the reduction in net travel and transport receipts resulted in a
smaller surplus. Finally, the small rise in the income account deficit is due to the
increase in net payments for interest, dividends and profits.
During the first quarter of 2002, the current account deficit
decreased by 467 million euro, compared with that in the corresponding 2001 period, and
stood at 2,030 million euro. This development is mainly due to the increase of the
transfers surplus (owing to the rise in net EU transfers) and, to a lesser extent, to the
reduction in the trade deficit, which reflects the decrease in the value of net fuel
imports. Over the same period, the services surplus fell marginally, while the income
account deficit recorded a slight increase.
The non-oil trade deficit increased by 131 million euro during the
first quarter of 2002, because the reduction of export receipts more than offset the
slight decrease in the import bill. By contrast, net oil imports fell by 166 million euro.
In the period under review, the increase in net receipts from travel and other services
failed to cover the fall in net transport receipts, thus resulting in a marginal decrease
in the services surplus. The small rise of the income account deficit stems mainly from
the increase in net payments for interest, dividends and profits. Finally, the transfers
balance recorded a larger surplus, due to the increase in net EU transfers by 558 million
Financial account balance
In March 2002, direct investment and portfolio investment
recorded net outflows of 58 and 1,047 million euro respectively. Direct investment
outflows are mainly due to residents' investments abroad, while portfolio investment
outflows are the result of the reduction in the portfolio of Greek government bonds held
by non-residents, as well as of the purchase of foreign bonds by residents. "Other
investment" showed an inflow of 849 million euro, attributable to the increase in
During the first quarter of 2002, direct investment recorded a
218 million euro net outflow, in contrast with the net inflows for portfolio and
"other" investment during the same period. The 2,409 million euro net inflow for
portfolio investment is attributable to the significant inflow of funds for the purchase
of Greek government bonds in February 2002. The 1,805 million euro net inflow for
"other investment" is the result of the considerable increase in non-residents'
deposits in Greece, which more than offset the growth of residents' deposits abroad, which
was substantial also. At the same time, the repayment of general government loans
continued during the first quarter of 2002.
As a result of the evolution of the current account and the financial
account balances, Greece's reserve assets came to 8.5 billion euro at end-March 2002.