Balance of Payments: January 2018
23/03/2018 - Press Releases
In January 2018, the current account showed a deficit of €586 million, up by €246 million year-on-year. This development is attributable to the deterioration mainly in the balance of goods – especially in the oil bill – as well as in the balance of services, which was partly offset by an improvement in the balance of the primary and the secondary income accounts.
The rise in the deficit of the balance of goods is primarily accounted for by an increase in the negative oil bill and, secondarily, a rise in the deficit of the non-oil balance of goods. Exports of goods continued their upward course noted in 2017, increasing by 19.4% at current prices (16.2% at constant prices) year-on-year. At the same time, however, imports, mainly of oil and ships, grew more. Exports of goods excluding oil and ships rose by 21.8% at current prices (20.1% at constant prices), while the corresponding imports rose by 15.4% at current prices (15.1% at constant prices).
The decrease in the services surplus is due to lower other net services and transport receipts, despite a 4% rise in net sea transport receipts. Net travel receipts did not change considerably, despite a significant increase of 16% in non-residents' arrivals in January 2018.
The surplus of the primary income account rose by €181 million year-on-year, mainly as a result of an improvement in the other primary income account, which includes taxes and subsidies on products and production. Lastly, the surplus of the secondary income account increased due to an improvement in the general government component.
In January 2018, the capital account surplus grew by €144 million, mainly due to a rise in net capital transfers to general government.
Combined current and capital account
In January 2018, the combined current and capital account (corresponding to the economy’s external financing requirements) showed a deficit of €402 million, up by €103 million year-on-year.
In January 2018, residents' net external assets increased by €393 million and residents' net external liabilities, which represent non-residents' direct investment in Greece, rose by €171 million.
Under portfolio investment, a net decrease in residents' external assets is chiefly attributable to a decline of €2.5 billion in residents' holdings of foreign bonds and Treasury bills. A net increase in their liabilities is mainly due to a rise of €1.0 billion in non-residents' holdings of Greek government bonds and Treasury bills.
Under other investment, a small net increase in residents' external assets is mainly due to a rise of €829 million in residents’ deposit and repo holdings abroad, which was largely offset by the statistical adjustment related to holdings of euro banknotes (1). A net decrease in liabilities reflects a fall of €2 billion in non-residents' deposit and repo holdings in Greece (the TARGET account included).
At end-January 2018, Greece’s reserve assets stood at €6.5 billion, compared with €6.4 billion in January 2017.
Note: Balance of payments data for February 2018 will be released on 20 April 2018.
Related link: Balance of Payments: January 2018 - Table
(1) In January 2018, both assets and liabilities registered a decrease on account of the statistical adjustment related to holdings of euro banknotes, which came to €707 million and €680 million, respectively.