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Balance of Payments: May 2018

23/07/2018 - Press Releases

Current account

In May 2018, the current account registered a surplus of €192 million, against a deficit of €658 million in the same month of 2017, reflecting improvements in all its main components.

The deficit of the balance of goods fell by €127 million to stand at €1.4 billion. Both the oil balance and the non-oil balance of goods improved, as exports rose more than imports. Exports of goods rose by 2.4%, at constant prices, but non-oil exports grew faster, by 8.2%, given that the volume of oil exports decreased.

The surplus of the services balance rose by €356 million, which is almost entirely attributable to an improvement in the travel balance. Specifically, non-residents’ arrivals increased by 23.6% in May year-on-year and the corresponding receipts grew by 34.7%. The transport balance improved less, exclusively on account of a 14% increase in net sea transport receipts.

Lastly, in May 2018, the primary and secondary income accounts also improved significantly.

In the January-May 2018 period, the current account showed a deficit of €4.0 billion, almost unchanged year-on-year, as the rise in the surpluses of the services balance and of the primary and secondary income accounts was offset by an increase in the deficit of the balance of goods.

The deficit of the balance of goods grew, mainly owing to the higher net oil import bill. The non-oil balance of goods also worsened, but to a smaller extent. Overall, exports grew faster than imports though imports in absolute terms grew more.

The surplus of the services balance, mainly following the very favourable developments in the travel balance in May, increased in the first five months of 2018 year-on-year. Specifically, in the January-May 2018 period, non-residents' arrivals and the corresponding receipts showed an increase of 16.8% and 21.7%, respectively.

Lastly, an increase was registered in the surpluses of the primary and the secondary income accounts.

Capital account

In May 2018, the capital account improved year-on-year, while in the January-May 2018 period, the capital account surplus decreased by €34 million year-on-year.

Combined current and capital account

In May 2018, the combined current and capital account (corresponding to the economy’s external financing requirements) showed a surplus of €207 million, up by €864 million year-on-year. In the January-May 2018 period, the combined current and capital account showed a deficit of €3.8 billion, up by €62 million year-on-year.

Financial account

In May 2018, residents' net external liabilities, which represent non-residents' direct investment in Greece, grew by €508 million; the most significant transaction concerned the transfer of 5% of OTE S.A. by the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) to Deutsche Telekom AG (Germany).

Under portfolio investment, a net increase in residents' external assets is mainly attributable to a rise of €248 million in residents' holdings of foreign bonds and Treasury bills. A net increase in their liabilities is mainly due to a rise of €590 million in non-residents' holdings of Greek government bonds and Treasury bills.

Under other investment, residents' external assets recorded a small net decrease. A net decline in liabilities mainly reflects the statistical adjustment associated with holdings of euro banknotes and, secondarily, a €494 million decrease in non-residents' deposit and repo holdings in Greece (the TARGET account included). (1)

In the January-May 2018 period, under direct investment, residents' net external assets rose by €237 million and residents' net external liabilities, which represent non-residents' direct investment in Greece, increased by €1.7 billion.

Under portfolio investment, a net decrease in residents' external assets is chiefly attributable to a decline of €2.0 billion in residents' holdings of foreign bonds and Treasury bills. A net increase in their liabilities is mainly due to a rise of €4.8 billion in non-residents' holdings of Greek government bonds and Treasury bills.

Under other investment, a net decrease in residents' external assets reflects mainly the statistical adjustment related to holdings of euro banknotes and, secondarily, a decline of €1.0 billion in residents' deposit and repo holdings abroad (2). A net decline in liabilities reflects chiefly a drop of €11.3 billion in non-residents' deposit and repo holdings in Greece (the TARGET account included), which was partly offset by a €4.9 billion increase in the outstanding debt of the public and the private sector to non-residents.

At end-May 2018, Greece’s reserve assets stood at €6.4 billion, compared with €6.3 billion in May 2017.

Note: Balance of payments data for June 2018 will be released on 20 August 2018.


(1) In May 2018, both assets and liabilities registered a decrease on account of the statistical adjustment related to holdings of euro banknotes, which came to €684 million and €713 million, respectively.
(2) In the January-May 2018 period, both assets and liabilities registered a decrease on account of the statistical adjustment related to holdings of euro banknotes, which came to €3.1 billion and €3.0 billion, respectively.

 

Related link: Balance of Payments: May 2018 - Table

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