Press Releases

Balance of Payments: May 2017

21/07/2017 - Press Releases

Current account

In May 2017, the current account showed a deficit that was up by €124 million year-on-year, as a result of increases in the deficit of the balance of goods and in the deficits of the primary and the secondary income accounts, which were only partly offset by a hike in the surplus of the services balance.

A year-on-year rise of €137 million in the deficit of the balance of goods was mostly attributable to an increase in the deficit of the non-oil balance of goods. It should be noted that non-oil exports of goods rose by 15.3% and oil exports by 17.5% at constant prices.

A €145 million rise in the surplus of the services balance is for the most part due to a 40.4% rise in net – mainly sea – transport receipts, as well as to higher net travel and other services receipts. In May 2017, non-residents' arrivals and the corresponding receipts showed an increase of 1.5% and 1.7%, respectively.

In May 2017, a year-on-year widening of €111 million in the deficit of the primary income account is mainly attributable to lower net interest, dividend and profit receipts, and a rise of €21 million in the deficit of the secondary income account is due to a deterioration in the balance of the general government sector.

In the January-May 2017 period, the current account deficit fell by €64 million year-on-year and stood at €3.6 billion. This development is attributable to an amelioration in the services balance and in the primary and the secondary income accounts, which more than offset an increase in the deficit of the balance of goods. The overall balance of goods and services showed a deficit of €4.8 billion, up by €347 million year-on-year, as a rise in exports was offset by an increase in imports.

In the January-May 2017 period, a year-on-year widening in the deficit of the balance of goods is primarily the result of an increase in the deficit of the oil balance. The deficit of the non-oil balance of goods also grew, given that imports increased faster than exports. Specifically, non-oil exports of goods grew by 5.8% at constant prices and the corresponding imports by 6%.

An increase of €532 million in the surplus of the services balance is the result of an improvement in all of its main components and mostly in the transport balance. Compared with the January-May 2016 period, non-residents' arrivals increased by 2.4% and the corresponding receipts by 0.9%. In addition, transport receipts rose by 21.3%.

Capital account

In May 2017, the capital account did not show any considerable change, while in the January-May 2017 period a surplus of €235 million was recorded, compared with a surplus of €670 million in the same period of 2016.

Combined current and capital account

In May 2017, the combined current and capital account (corresponding to the economy's external financing requirements) showed a deficit of €580 million, up by €117 million year-on-year, while in the January-May 2017 period it recorded a deficit of €3.4 billion, up by €371 million year-on-year.

Financial account

In May 2017, no remarkable transactions were recorded under direct investment. Residents' external assets rose by €89 million and residents' external liabilities, which represent non-residents' direct investment in Greece, increased by €251 million.

Under portfolio investment, a net decrease in residents' external assets is chiefly attributable to a drop of €2.4 billion in residents' holdings of foreign bonds and Treasury bills, while a net increase in liabilities reflects mainly a rise of €560 million in non-residents' holdings of Greek government bonds and Treasury bills.

Under other investment, a net decrease in residents' assets reflects mainly the statistical adjustment (down by €731 million) related to holdings of euro banknotes. A net decrease in liabilities is chiefly due to a net decline of €3.2 billion in non-residents' deposit and repo holdings in Greece (the ΤARGET account included).

In the January-May 2017 period, under direct investment, residents' external assets rose by €997 million and the corresponding liabilities grew by €1.6 billion.
Under portfolio investment, a net decrease in residents' external assets reflects mainly a drop of €2.3 billion in residents' holdings of foreign bonds and Treasury bills, while a net decline in liabilities reflects chiefly a decrease of €676 million in non-residents' holdings of Greek government bonds and Treasury bills.

Under other investment, a net decrease in residents' assets reflects mostly a drop of €2.0 billion in residents' (credit institutions' and institutional investors') deposit and repo holdings abroad and the statistical adjustment (down by €2.2 billion) related to holdings of euro banknotes. A net decline in liabilities reflects principally a fall in the outstanding debt of the public and the private sector to non-residents (down by €2.8 billion), which, together with the statistical adjustment (down by €2.1 billion), more than offset a rise in non-residents' deposit and repo holdings in Greece (up by €1.5 billion, the TARGET account included).

At end-May 2017, Greece's reserve assets stood at €6.3 billion, compared with €6.7 billion at end-May 2016.

Note: Balance of payments data for June 2017 will be released on 21 August 2017.


Related link: Balance of Payments: May 2017 - Table

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