Press Releases

Balance of payments: November 2016

20/01/2017 - Press Releases

Current account

In November 2016, the current account showed a deficit of €1.2 billion, almost unchanged from its level in November 2015. Year-on-year, total exports of goods and services grew faster (9.7%) than the corresponding imports (6.7%) and the overall balance of goods and services did not change considerably. The primary and the secondary income account also did not record any remarkable change.

The deficit of the balance of goods recorded a small increase, as the improvement in the non-oil balance of goods was more than offset by higher net oil imports. Non-oil exports rose year-on-year by 14.4% and 14.8% at current and constant prices, respectively. A rise was also recorded in non-oil imports, of 3.3% and 3.5% at current and constant prices, respectively.
 
The surplus of the services balance grew by €61 million year-on-year, as a result of higher net transport and other services receipts. By contrast, net travel receipts declined. More specifically, in November, non-residents' arrivals increased by 11.7%, but the corresponding receipts decreased by 13.8%.

In November 2016, the primary income account showed a surplus of €77 million, up by €26 million year-on-year. This improvement is attributable to higher net receipts under other primary income, which includes taxes and subsidies on products and production. On the contrary, the secondary income account showed a deficit of €89 million, up by €64 million year-on-year, on account of an increase in general government net payments.

In the January-November 2016 period, the current account recorded a small deficit of €171 million, against a surplus of €990 million in the same period of 2015. This development is mainly accounted for by a worsening of the services balance. In particular, the lower deficit of the balance of goods did not offset a decline in the surplus of the services balance, which resulted in a deterioration in the overall balance of goods and services. Moreover, the primary income account worsened, while the secondary income account improved.

During the same period, the balance of goods showed an amelioration of €684 million, which reflects the reduced deficit of the oil balance and lower net payments for purchases of ships in comparison with the corresponding period of 2015. By contrast, the deficit of the balance of goods excluding oil and ships grew, chiefly on account of an increase in the value of imports (4.3%), while the value of the corresponding exports registered a small rise (1.7%). It should be noted that, in the January-November 2016 period, at constant prices, total exports of goods rose by 6.9%, reflecting mainly a rise in the volume of oil exports, while non-oil exports of goods also grew by 4.1%.
 
The surplus of the services balance dropped by €1.9 billion year-on-year, mainly due to a significant decline in net transport receipts, which is largely attributable to capital controls. Net travel receipts also recorded a fall. Total non-residents' arrivals increased by 4.9%, while the corresponding receipts declined by 6.6%. These developments were offset to a small extent by an improvement in the other services balance.

In the January-November 2016 period, the primary income account showed a surplus of €618 million, down by €62 million year-on-year. This deterioration is attributable to higher net interest, dividend and profit payments and lower net receipts under other primary income. Finally, the deficit of the secondary income account narrowed by €65 million, on account of a rise in net receipts of the sectors other than general government, which offset an increase in general government net payments.

Capital account

In November 2016, the capital account showed a surplus of €117 million, down by €73 million year-on-year, while in the January-November 2016 period it showed a surplus of €756 million, down by €1.1 billion year-on-year.

Combined current and capital account

In November 2016, the combined current and capital account (corresponding to the economy's external financing requirements) showed a deficit of €1.1 billion, up by €95 million year-on-year. In the January-November 2016 period, a surplus of €586 million was recorded, down by €2.3 billion year-on-year.

Financial account

In November 2016, under direct investment, residents' external assets and the corresponding liabilities rose by €131 million and €156 million respectively, without any remarkable transactions.
 
Under portfolio investment, a rise of €581 million in residents' external assets is mainly attributable to an increase in residents' holdings of foreign bonds and Treasury bills, which was partly offset by a decline in their holdings of foreign equities. A decrease of €85 million in liabilities reflects mainly a decline in non-residents' holdings of Greek government bonds and Treasury bills.
 
Under other investment, a decrease of €1.1 billion in residents' assets reflects mainly the statistical adjustment related to holdings of euro banknotes (down by €895 million) and a decline (of €355 million) in residents' (credit institutions' and institutional investors') deposit and repo holdings abroad. Liabilities in this category registered a €92 million increase, reflecting a rise of €944 million in non-residents' deposit and repo holdings in Greece (the TARGET account included), a €872 million decrease due to the statistical adjustment related to holdings of euro banknotes and a €20 million increase in the outstanding debt of the public and the private sector to non-residents.
 
In the January-November 2016 period, residents' assets from direct investment abroad declined by €758 million, while the corresponding liabilities, which represent non-residents' direct investment in Greece, increased by €2.5 billion, against a rise of €771 million in the same period of 2015.

Under portfolio investment, residents' external assets registered an increase of €6.7 billion, which is mainly attributable to a rise of €9.1 billion in residents' holdings of foreign bonds and Treasury bills, that was partly offset by a decrease of €2.5 billion in residents' investment in foreign equities. Residents' external liabilities fell by €2.3 billion, mainly on account of a decline in non-residents' holdings of Greek government bonds and Treasury bills.

Under other investment, a decline of €13.8 billion in residents' external assets largely reflects a decrease of €8.4 billion in resident credit institutions' and institutional investors' deposit and repo holdings abroad, and a drop owing to the statistical adjustment related to holdings of euro banknotes (down by €5.4 billion). On the liabilities side, a drop of €7.9 billion was recorded, which is attributable both to a decrease of €8.8 billion in non-residents’ deposit and repo holdings in Greece (the TARGET account included) and to the effect of the statistical adjustment (down by €6.0 billion). These developments were partly offset by a €6.7 billion increase in the outstanding debt of the public and the private sector to non-residents.

At end-November 2016, Greece's reserve assets stood at €6.5 billion, compared with €5.2 billion at end-November 2015.

Note: Balance of payments data for December 2016 will be released on 20 February 2017.

Related link: Balance of payments: November 2016 - Table

 

 

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