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PRESS RELEASE

Euro area monthly balance of payments (April 2016)

17 June 2016
  • In April 2016 the current account of the euro area recorded a surplus of €36.2 billion.[1]
  • In the financial account, combined direct and portfolio investment recorded an increase of €99 billion in assets and a decrease of €30 billion in liabilities.

Current account

The current account of the euro area recorded a surplus of €36.2 billion in April 2016 (see Table 1). This reflected surpluses for goods (€31.0 billion), services (€5.6 billion) and primary income (€8.3 billion), which were partly offset by a deficit in secondary income (€8.8 billion).

The 12-month cumulated current account for the period ending in April 2016 recorded a surplus of €329.4 billion (3.1% of euro area GDP), compared with one of €282.4 billion (2.8% of euro area GDP) for the 12 months to April 2015 (see Table 1 and Chart 1). This development was mostly due to an increase in the surplus for goods (from €274.7 billion to €331.0 billion) and, to a lesser extent, to a decrease in the deficit for secondary income (from €138.8 billion to €129.4 billion). These were partly offset by decreases in the surpluses for both services (from €70.7 billion to €67.4 billion) and primary income (from €75.7 billion to €60.4 billion).

Financial account

In April 2016 combined direct and portfolio investment recorded an increase of €99 billion in assets and a decrease of €30 billion in liabilities (see Table 2).

Euro area residents recorded increases of €25 billion in direct investment assets and €15 billion in direct investment liabilities. In both cases, these were as a result of increases in equity (€19 billion in assets and €12 billion in liabilities) and in debt instruments (€6 billion in assets and €3 billion in liabilities).

As regards portfolio investment assets, euro area residents made net acquisitions of foreign securities amounting to €73 billion. This resulted from net acquisitions of long-term debt securities (€74 billion) and equity (€15 billion), which were partly offset by disposals of short-term debt securities (€15 billion). Portfolio investment liabilities decreased by €45 billion as a result of net sales/amortisations of long-term debt securities by non-euro area residents (€87 billion). This was partly offset by non-euro area residents’ net acquisitions of equity (€18 billion) and short-term debt securities (€24 billion) issued by euro area residents.

The euro area net financial derivatives account (assets minus liabilities) recorded negative net flows of €6 billion.

Other investment recorded increases of €101 billion in assets and €172 billion in liabilities. The increase in assets was mostly attributable to the MFI sector (excluding the Eurosystem) (€109 billion) and was partly offset by decreases in the Eurosystem (€7 billion) and general government (€5 billion). In a similar vein, the increase in liabilities was mainly explained by an increase in the MFI sector (excluding the Eurosystem) (€167 billion), and to a lesser extent by an increase in other sectors (€4 billion).

In the 12 months to April 2016 combined direct and portfolio investment recorded increases of €866 billion in assets and €234 billion in liabilities, compared with increases of €874 billion and €684 billion respectively in the 12 months to April 2015. This reflected primarily a shift in portfolio investment liabilities from net acquisitions of euro area securities by non-residents (€420 billion) to net disposals/amortisations (€155 billion).

Direct investment recorded increases in both assets (from €391 billion to €446 billion) and liabilities (from €264 billion to €389 billion). This pattern is explained by a large increase of the investment in equity, both from euro area residents (€419 billion, up from €174 billion) and non-euro area residents (€311 billion, up from €137 billion). This was partly offset by a reduction of the investment in debt instruments, both from euro area residents (€27 billion, down from €218 billion) and non-euro area residents (€79 billion, down from €127 billion).

According to the monetary presentation of the balance of payments, the net external assets of euro area MFIs decreased by €42 billion in the 12 months to April 2016, compared with an increase of €65 billion in the 12 months to April 2015. This reflected the increase in the surplus in the current and capital account balance (from €287 billion to €317 billion), which was partly offset by, among others, by a shift from net acquisitions by non-residents of debt securities issued by euro area non-MFI residents (€102 billion) to net sales/amortisations (€164 billion).

In April 2016 the Eurosystem’s stock of reserve assets increased by €11 billion to €687 billion (see Table 3). This was mostly explained by the positive revaluation of monetary gold (€12 billion) and exchange rate developments (€1 billion), which were partly offset by net disposals of reserve assets (€2 billion).

Data revisions

This press release incorporates revisions for the period from January to March 2016. These revisions have not significantly altered the figures previously published.

Additional information

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

Methodological information: ECB’s website

Monetary presentation of the balance of payments Next press releases:

Monthly balance of payments: 20 July 2016 (reference data up to May 2016);

Quarterly balance of payments and international investment position: 8 July 2016 (reference data up to the first quarter of 2016).

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 enquiries, please contact Rocío González, tel.: +49 69 1344 6451.

  1. [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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