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PRESS RELEASE

Euro area monthly balance of payments (February 2015)

17 April 2015
  • In February 2015 the current account of the euro area recorded a surplus of €26.4 billion. [1]

  • In the financial account, combined direct and portfolio investment recorded increases of €79 billion in assets and €66 billion in liabilities.

Current account

The current account of the euro area recorded a surplus of €26.4 billion in February 2015 (see Table 1). This reflected surpluses for goods (€26.2 billion), services (€4.4 billion) and primary income (€7.3 billion), which were partly offset by a deficit for secondary income (€11.6 billion).

The 12-month cumulated current account for the period ending in February 2015 recorded a surplus of €240.9 billion (2.4% of euro area GDP), compared with €191.3 billion (1.9% of euro area GDP) for the 12 months to February 2014 (see Table 1 and Chart 1). The increase in the current account surplus was due mainly to increases in the surpluses for goods (from €221.8 billion to €257.6 billion) and primary income (from €43.8 billion to €53.7 billion), as well as a decrease in the deficit for secondary income (from €141.7 billion to €137.1 billion). The surplus for services decreased marginally (from €67.5 billion to €66.6 billion).

Financial account

In the financial account (see Table 2) in February 2015, combined direct and portfolio investment recorded an increase of €79 billion in assets and of €66 billion in liabilities.

Euro area residents recorded an increase of €34 billion in direct investment assets, which was due to increases in equity (€19 billion) and in debt instruments (€15 billion). Direct investment liabilities increased as well, by €30 billion, also due to increases in equity (€12 billion) and in debt instruments (€18 billion).

As regards portfolio investment assets, euro area residents made net acquisitions of foreign securities for a total amount of €45 billion, owing to net purchases of long-term debt securities (€44 billion), whereas the net purchases of short-term debt securities and equity were negligible. Regarding euro area portfolio investment liabilities, non-euro area residents made net acquisitions of euro area securities for a total amount of €36 billion, mostly in equity (€33 billion).

The euro area net financial derivatives account (assets minus liabilities) recorded positive net flows of €6 billion. Other investment recorded decreases of €17 billion in assets and €10 billion in liabilities. These developments were mainly driven by MFIs (excluding the Eurosystem) on the asset side and by the Eurosystem on the liability side.

The Eurosystem’s stock of reserve assets decreased by €7 billion in February 2015 (to €671 billion), which was mostly explained by negative revaluations of gold prices (€12 billion) that were partially compensated for by net acquisitions of reserve assets (€4 billion).

In the 12 months to February 2015, combined direct and portfolio investment recorded cumulated increases of €635 billion in assets and €419 billion in liabilities, compared with increases of €789 billion and €857 billion respectively in the 12 months to February 2014. This development resulted from a significant decrease in the direct investment activity of both euro area residents abroad and non-residents in the euro area. On the asset side this development was partially offset by a significant increase in the net purchases of foreign debt securities by euro area residents.

According to the monetary presentation of the balance of payments, the net external assets of euro area MFIs increased by €81 billion in the 12 months to February 2015, compared with an increase of €395 billion in the preceding 12-month period. This development in the MFIs’ net external assets continued to reflect primarily a surplus of €249 billion in the current and capital account balance, which in the last 12 months has been partially compensated by larger net purchases of portfolio investment assets by euro area non-MFI residents (from €229 billion to €379 billion) and by net sales/amortizations of debt securities issued by euro area non-MFI residents (€14 billion), thus reducing the impact on the banking statistics.

Data revisions

This press release incorporates revisions for January 2015. These revisions have not significantly altered the figures previously published.

Additional information

Time series data: ECB’s Statistical Data Warehouse (SDW)

Methodological information

Monetary presentation of the balance of payments

Next press releases:

  • Monthly balance of payments: 21 May 2015 (reference data up to March 2015);

  • Quarterly balance of payments and international investment position: 9 July 2015 (reference data up to the first quarter of 2015).

Annexes

Table 1: Current account of the euro area

Table 2: Balance of payments of the euro area

For media queries, please contact Rocio Gonzalez, Tel.: +49 69 1344 6451.



[1]References to the current account are always to data that are seasonally and working day-adjusted, unless otherwise indicated, whereas references to the capital and financial accounts are to data that are neither seasonally nor working day-adjusted.

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