Press Releases

Balance of payments: November 2017

22/01/2018 - Press Releases

Current account

In November 2017, the current account showed an improvement of €296 million year-on-year, posting a deficit of €954 million. This development is almost entirely attributable to a decrease in the deficit of the balance of goods. The services balance and the primary and secondary income accounts did not show any notable change.

The decrease in the deficit of the balance of goods is attributable to the elimination of the deficit of the oil balance, whereas the deficit of the non-oil balance of goods grew. However, it should be noted that non-oil exports of goods rose by 10.1% at current prices and by 7.2% at constant prices. A small increase in the surplus of the services balance is attributable to improvements in the travel balance and the transport balance, which were largely offset by a decrease in the surplus of the other services balance. Non-residents' arrivals and the corresponding receipts rose by 3.3% and 1.3%, respectively. The surplus of the transport balance grew by 20.8%, mainly on account of higher net sea transport receipts.

In the January-November 2017 period, the current account showed a small deficit of €213 million, down by €651 million year-on-year. This development reflects improvements mainly in the services balance and, secondarily, the primary and the secondary income accounts, 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 the result of increases in both the deficit of the oil balance and the deficit of the non-oil balance of goods. It should be noted that, in January-November 2017, exports of goods rose by 14.0% and 4.0% at current and constant prices, respectively, and that the corresponding growth rates for non-oil exports were 9.4% and 6.5%. Additionally, a rise was also recorded in imports, of 13.2% and 6.8% at current and constant prices, respectively.

The expansion of the surplus of the services balance is due to improvements in the travel balance and the transport balance, while the surplus of the other services balance fell slightly. More specifically, as regards the travel balance, non-residents' arrivals increased by 9.9% and the corresponding receipts by 10.7%. Moreover, transport receipts rose by 17.6% at current prices. Finally, the primary and secondary income accounts also improved.

Capital account

In November 2017, the capital account surplus decreased, mainly due to the drop in net capital transfers to general government. In the January-November 2017 period, a surplus of €445 million was recorded, compared with a surplus of €756 million in the same period of 2016.

Combined current and capital account

In November 2017, the combined current and capital account (corresponding to the economy's external financing requirements) registered a deficit of €871 million, down by €262 million year-on-year, while in the January-November 2017 period it showed a surplus of €232 million, against a deficit of €108 million year-on-year.

Financial account

In November 2017, residents' net external liabilities, which represent non-residents' direct investment in Greece, increased by €176 million. The most important transactions concerned the participation of the parent company Nestlé S.A. (Switzerland) in the capital increase of its Greek subsidiary Nestlé Hellas S.A. and the inflow received by TAP AG Hellas from TAP AG (Switzerland).

Under portfolio investment, a net increase in residents' external assets is chiefly attributable to a rise of €1.8 billion in residents' holdings of foreign bonds and Treasury bills. A net increase in their liabilities is mainly due to a rise of €528 million in non-residents' holdings of Greek government bonds and Treasury bills.

Under other investment, a net decrease in residents' external assets mainly reflects a decline of €999 million in residents' (credit institutions' and institutional investors') deposit and repo holdings abroad. A net decrease in liabilities reflects the statistical adjustment associated with holdings of euro banknotes, which offset a €450 million increase in non-residents' deposit and repo holdings in Greece (the TARGET account included). (1)

In the January-November 2017 period, under direct investment, residents' external assets rose by €512 million and the corresponding liabilities by €3.3 billion.

Under portfolio investment, a net decrease in residents' external assets reflects mainly a drop of €8.9 billion in residents' holdings of foreign bonds and Treasury bills, while a net decline in liabilities chiefly 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 partly reflects a decline of €2.7 billion in residents' (credit institutions' and institutional investors') deposit and repo holdings abroad. A net decrease in liabilities largely reflects a drop of €19.9 billion in non-residents' deposit and repo holdings in Greece (the TARGET account included), which more than offset an increase of €5.9 billion in the outstanding debt of the public and the private sector to non-residents. (2)

At end-November 2017, Greece’s reserve assets remained unchanged year-on-year, at €6.5 billion.

 Note: Balance of payments data for December 2017 will be released on 20 February 2018.

 

(1) In November 2017, both assets and liabilities registered a decrease on account of the statistical adjustment related to holdings of euro banknotes, which came to €857 million and €834 million, respectively.

(2) In the January-November 2017 period, both assets and liabilities registered a decrease on account of the statistical adjustment related to holdings of euro banknotes, which came to €7.7 billion and €8.2 billion, respectively.

Related link: Balance of payments: November 2017 - Table

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