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PRESS RELEASE

Euro area balance of payments (March 2009)

26 May 2009

In March 2009 the working day and seasonally adjusted current account of the euro area recorded a deficit of EUR 6.5 billion. In the financial account, combined direct and portfolio investment showed net inflows of EUR 71 billion.

Current account

The working day and seasonally adjusted current account of the euro area recorded a deficit of EUR 6.5 billion in March 2009 (corresponding to a deficit of EUR 3.5 billion in non-adjusted terms). This reflected deficits in current transfers (EUR 7.6 billion) and goods (EUR 1.6 billion), which were only partly offset by surpluses in services (EUR 2.0 billion) and income (EUR 0.8 billion).

Preliminary results for the first quarter of 2009 show a deficit of EUR 26.6 billion in the current account (corresponding to a deficit of EUR 25.4 billion in non-adjusted terms).

The 12-month cumulated, working day-adjusted current account up to March 2009 recorded a deficit of EUR 102.3 billion (about 1.1% of euro area GDP), compared with a deficit of EUR 11.2 billion a year earlier. This increase resulted from a shift in the goods account from a surplus (EUR 37.5 billion) to a deficit (EUR 10.8 billion), increases in the deficits in income (from EUR 7.7 billion to EUR 31.7 billion) and current transfers (from EUR 93.2 billion to EUR 95.5 billion), and a decrease in the surplus in services (from EUR 52.2 billion to EUR 35.7 billion).

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Financial account

In the financial account, combined direct and portfolio investment showed net inflows of EUR 71 billion in March 2009, as net inflows in portfolio investment (EUR 96 billion) significantly exceeded net outflows in direct investment (EUR 25 billion).

The net outflows in direct investment resulted from net outflows in both equity capital and reinvested earnings (EUR 5 billion) and other capital (mostly inter-company loans) (EUR 20 billion).

Portfolio investment recorded net inflows in debt instruments (EUR 97 billion), reflecting net sales of foreign instruments by euro area residents and net purchases of euro area debt instruments by non-residents.

Financial derivatives recorded net inflows of EUR 1 billion.

Other investment recorded net outflows of EUR 14 billion, as a result of net outflows for MFIs excluding the Eurosystem (EUR 25 billion) that were partly counterbalanced by net inflows in other sectors (EUR 5 billion), the Eurosystem (EUR 5 billion) and general government (EUR 1 billion).

Reserve assets increased by EUR 1 billion (excluding valuation effects). The stock of the Eurosystem’s reserve assets stood at EUR 396 billion at the end of March 2009.

In the 12-month period to March 2009, combined direct and portfolio investment showed cumulated net inflows of EUR 267 billion, compared with net outflows of EUR 19 billion a year earlier. This shift mainly resulted from a rise in net inflows in portfolio investment (from EUR 134 billion to EUR 495 billion), largely reflecting a shift from net outflows to net inflows in money market instruments. The increase in net inflows in portfolio investment was partly offset by higher net outflows in direct investment (from EUR 153 billion to EUR 229 billion).

Data revisions

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

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 March 2009 will also be published in the June 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 24 June 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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