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PRESS RELEASE

Euro area balance of payments (September 2009)

18 November 2009

In September 2009 the working day and seasonally adjusted current account of the euro area recorded a deficit of EUR 5.4 billion. In the financial account, combined direct and portfolio investment recorded net inflows of EUR 28 billion (non-seasonally adjusted).

Current account

The working day and seasonally adjusted current account of the euro area recorded a deficit of EUR 5.4 billion in September 2009 (corresponding to a deficit of EUR 5.0 billion in non-adjusted terms). This reflected deficits in current transfers (EUR 6.5 billion) and income (EUR 4.1 billion), which were partly offset by surpluses in goods (EUR 4.0 billion) and services (EUR 1.3 billion).

Preliminary results for the third quarter of 2009 show a seasonally adjusted current account that is close to balance (corresponding to a surplus of EUR 1.6 billion in non-adjusted terms).

The 12-month cumulated, working day-adjusted current account recorded a deficit of EUR 91.6 billion (around 1.0% of euro area GDP) in September 2009, compared with a deficit of EUR 105.9 billion a year earlier. The decrease in the current account deficit was mainly accounted for by a shift from a deficit (EUR 1.5 billion) to a surplus (EUR 15.1 billion) in goods, and by a decrease in the deficit in income (from EUR 55.0 billion to EUR 42.2 billion). This was only partly offset by a decrease in the surplus in services (from EUR 44.8 billion to EUR 25.6 billion).

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Financial account

In the non-seasonally adjusted financial account, combined direct and portfolio investment recorded net inflows in September 2009 (EUR 28 billion), as the net inflows recorded in portfolio investment (EUR 54 billion) exceeded the net outflows in direct investment (EUR 26 billion).

The net outflows in direct investment resulted from net outflows in equity capital and reinvested earnings (EUR 3 billion) and in other capital (mostly inter-company loans) (EUR 23 billion).

The net inflows in portfolio investment were accounted for by net inflows in bonds and notes (EUR 34 billion) and in money market instruments (EUR 24 billion), which were only partly offset by net outflows in equity (EUR 5 billion). The net inflows in debt instruments were accounted for predominantly by net purchases of euro area securities by non-residents (EUR 48 billion).

Financial derivatives recorded net outflows of EUR 2 billion.

Other investment recorded net outflows of EUR 19 billion. This was due to net outflows for other sectors (EUR 20 billion) and the Eurosystem (EUR 19 billion), which were partly counterbalanced by net inflows for MFIs excluding the Eurosystem (EUR 17 billion) and the general government (EUR 3 billion).

Although the reserve assets show a decrease by EUR 3 billion in September 2009, due to transactions, the Eurosystem’s stock of reserve assets increased from EUR 428 billion at the end of August 2009 to EUR 431 billion at the end of September 2009. This increase resulted from the special allocation by the IMF of special drawing rights to euro area countries (EUR 5 billion).

In the 12-month period to September 2009, combined direct and portfolio investment recorded cumulated net inflows of EUR 343 billion, compared with net inflows of EUR 82 billion in the preceding 12-month period. This was mainly the result of a substantial rise in net inflows in portfolio investment (from EUR 185 billion to EUR 478 billion), largely reflecting higher net inflows in money market instruments (which increased from EUR 26 billion to EUR 237 billion).

Data revisions

In addition to the balance of payments for September 2009, this press release incorporates revisions for August 2009. These revisions have resulted in somewhat lower net inflows in portfolio investment (from EUR 53 billion to EUR 46 billion).

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 in the “Statistics” section of the ECB’s website under the headings “Data services”/“Latest monetary, financial markets and balance of payments statistics”. These data, as well as historical euro area balance of payments time series, can be downloaded from the ECB’s Statistical Data Warehouse (SDW). Data up to September 2009 will also be published in the December 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 18 December 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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