PRESS RELEASE

Euro area monthly balance of payments
(February 2017)

21 April 2017
  • In February 2017 the current account of the euro area recorded a surplus of €37.9 billion.[1]
  • In the financial account, combined direct and portfolio investment recorded net acquisitions of assets of €149 billion and net incurrences of liabilities of €76 billion.

Current account

The current account of the euro area recorded a surplus of €37.9 billion in February 2017 (see Table 1). This reflected surpluses for goods (€29.5 billion), services (€9.5 billion) and primary income (€4.2 billion), which were partly offset by a deficit for secondary income (€5.4 billion).

The 12-month cumulated current account for the period ending in February 2017 recorded a surplus of €360.2 billion (3.4% of euro area GDP), compared with one of €341.2 billion (3.2% of euro area GDP) for the 12 months to February 2016 (see Table 1 and Chart 1). This was due to increases in the surpluses for goods (from €344.0 billion to €368.6 billion) and primary income (from €53.7 billion to €79.5 billion). These were partly offset by a decrease in the surplus of services (from €70.7 billion to €49.5 billion) and an increase in the deficit for secondary income (from €127.1 billion to €137.4 billion).

Financial account

In February 2017 combined direct and portfolio investment recorded net acquisitions of assets of €149 billion and net incurrences of liabilities of €76 billion (see Table 2).

Euro area residents recorded net acquisitions of €95 billion of direct investment assets as a result of net acquisitions of both equity (€19 billion) and debt instruments (€76 billion). Direct investment liabilities also increased by €95 billion as a result of net acquisitions of euro area equity (€4 billion) and debt instruments (€91 billion) by non-euro area residents.

As regards portfolio investment assets, euro area residents made net acquisitions of foreign securities amounting to €54 billion. This resulted from net purchases of long-term debt securities (€34 billion), short-term debt securities (€11 billion) and equity (€10 billion). Portfolio investment liabilities recorded net reductions of €19 billion as a result of net sales/amortisations of euro area long-term debt securities (€26 billion) and equity (€4 billion) by non-euro area residents. These net sales/amortisations were partly offset by net acquisitions of euro area short-term debt securities (€10 billion) by noneuro area residents.

The euro area net financial derivatives account (assets minus liabilities) recorded positive net flows of €5 billion.

Other investment recorded increases of €34 billion in assets and €117 billion in liabilities. The net acquisition of foreign assets by euro area residents is mainly attributable to the MFI sector (excluding the Eurosystem) (€28 billion). The net incurrence of liabilities is largely explained by the MFI sector (excluding the Eurosystem) (€58 billion), by the Eurosystem (€32 billion) and by other sectors (€28 billion).

In the 12 months to February 2017 combined direct and portfolio investment recorded increases of €848 billion in assets and €227 billion in liabilities, compared with increases of €1,170 billion and €651 billion respectively in the 12 months to February 2016. This resulted from a significant decrease in the direct investment activity of both euro area residents abroad and non-residents in the euro area, with the net acquisition of assets decreasing from €760 billion to €438 billion and the net incurrence of liabilities decreasing from €582 billion to €285 billion.

According to the monetary presentation of the balance of payments, the net external assets of euro area MFIs decreased by €243 billion in the 12 months to February 2017, compared with a decrease of €65 billion in the 12 months to February 2016. This reflected an increase in the surplus in the current and capital account balance (from €328 billion to €355 billion), which was offset by net financial transactions by non-MFIs. In particular, the cumulated transactions in portfolio investment liabilities issued by non-MFI euro area residents showed a shift from net purchases of debt securities by non-euro area investors (€24 billion) to net sales/amortisations (€227 billion).

In February 2017 the Eurosystem’s stock of reserve assets increased by €28.7 billion to €735.7 billion (see Table 3). This is mainly explained by positive price revaluations of monetary gold (€21.9 billion) and exchange rate developments (€5.2 billion).

Data revisions

This press release incorporates revisions to the data for the period of January 2017. 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: 19 May 2017 (reference data up to March 2017);
  • Quarterly balance of payments and international investment position: 5 July 2017 (reference data up to the first quarter of 2017);

Annexes

Table 1: Current account of the euro area

Table 2: Balance of payments of the euro area

Table 3: Reserve assets of the euro area

For media queries, please contact Rocío González, 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.

Media contacts