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PRESS RELEASE

Euro area balance of payments (February 2009)

23 April 2009

Current account

The working day and seasonally adjusted current account of the euro area recorded a deficit of EUR 8.1 billion in February 2009 (corresponding to a deficit of EUR 2.3 billion in non-adjusted terms). This reflected deficits in current transfers (EUR 6.5 billion) and income (EUR 4.7 billion), which were only partly offset by a surplus in services (EUR 3.0 billion). The goods account was balanced.

The 12-month cumulated, working day-adjusted current account up to February 2009 recorded a deficit of EUR 107.0 billion (about 1.2% of euro area GDP), compared with a surplus of EUR 6.0 billion a year earlier. This change was due to a shift in the goods account from a surplus (EUR 46.4 billion) to a deficit (EUR 12.1 billion), increases in the deficits in income (from EUR 4.3 billion to EUR 35.9 billion) and current transfers (from EUR 88.9 billion to EUR 97.2 billion), and a decrease in the surplus in services (from EUR 52.8 billion to EUR 38.2 billion).

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Financial account

In the financial account, combined direct and portfolio investment showed net inflows of EUR 48 billion in February 2009, as net inflows in portfolio investment (EUR 61 billion) significantly exceeded net outflows in direct investment (EUR 13 billion).

The net outflows in direct investment resulted from net outflows in both equity capital and reinvested earnings (EUR 4 billion) and other capital (mostly inter-company loans) (EUR 10 billion).

Portfolio investment recorded net inflows in both debt instruments (EUR 59 billion) and equity (EUR 2 billion). The developments in debt instruments reflected net purchases of euro area debt instruments by non-residents and net sales of foreign instruments by euro area residents.

Financial derivatives recorded net inflows of EUR 3 billion.

Other investment recorded net outflows of EUR 57 billion, mainly as a result of net outflows in the Eurosystem (EUR 24 billion), other sectors (EUR 20 billion), and MFIs excluding the Eurosystem (EUR 16 billion).

Reserve assets decreased by EUR 1 billion (excluding valuation effects). The stock of the Eurosystem’s reserve assets stood at EUR 420 billion at the end of February 2009.

In the 12-month period to February 2009 combined direct and portfolio investment showed cumulated net inflows of EUR 191 billion, compared with net inflows of EUR 50 billion a year earlier. This increase mainly resulted from a rise in net inflows in portfolio investment (from EUR 192 billion to EUR 419 billion), largely reflecting a shift from net outflows to net inflows in money market instruments. The increase in net inflows in portfolio investment was to a limited extent offset by higher net outflows in direct investment (from EUR 142 billion to EUR 228 billion).

Data revisions

In addition to the balance of payments for February 2009, this press release incorporates revisions for January 2009. These revisions have not significantly changed the results for January 2009.

Additional information on the euro area balance of payments and international investment position

A complete set of updated euro area balance of payments and international investment position statistics is available on the ECB’s website in the “Statistics” section under the headings “Data services”/“Latest monetary, financial markets and balance of payments statistics”. These data, as well as the historical euro area balance of payments time series, can be downloaded from the ECB’s Statistical Data Warehouse (SDW). Data up to February 2009 will also be published in the May 2009 issues of the ECB’s Monthly Bulletin and Statistics Pocket Book. A detailed methodological note is available on the ECB’s website. The next press release on the euro area monthly balance of payments will be published on 26 May 2009.

Annexes

Table 1: Current account of the euro area – working day and seasonally adjusted data.

Table 2: Monthly balance of payments of the euro area – non-seasonally adjusted data.

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