Euro area monthly balance of payments (September 2016)
- In September 2016 the current account of the euro area recorded a surplus of €25.3 billion.
- In the financial account, combined direct and portfolio investment recorded net acquisitions of assets of €32 billion and net reductions of liabilities of €22 billion.
The current account of the euro area recorded a surplus of €25.3 billion in September 2016 (see Table 1). This reflected surpluses for goods (€30.3 billion), services (€4.8 billion) and primary income (€4.2 billion), which were partly offset by a deficit for secondary income (€14.0 billion).
The 12-month cumulated current account for the period ending in September 2016 recorded a surplus of €337.5 billion (3.2% of euro area GDP), compared with one of €322.5 billion (3.1% of euro area GDP) for the 12 months to September 2015 (see Table 1 and Chart 1). This was mostly due to an increase in the surplus for goods (from €333.4 billion to €368.1 billion), as well as a decrease in the deficit for secondary income (from €131.2 billion to €128.4 billion). These were partly offset by decreases in the surpluses for services (from €62.8 billion to €56.9 billion) and primary income (from €57.5 billion to €41.0 billion).
In September 2016 combined direct and portfolio investment recorded net acquisitions of assets of €32 billion and net reductions of liabilities of €22 billion (see Table 2).
Euro area residents recorded net disposals of €13 billion of direct investment assets as a result of net disinvestments in equity (€11 billion) and debt instruments (€2 billion). Direct investment liabilities decreased by €20 billion as a result of net disinvestments in euro area equity (€7 billion) and debt instruments (€14 billion) by non-euro area residents.
As regards portfolio investment assets, euro area residents made net acquisitions of foreign securities amounting to €44 billion. This resulted from net purchases of short and long-term debt securities (€5 billion and €36 billion respectively) and equity (€3 billion). However, portfolio investment liabilities recorded a net decrease of €1 billion as a result of net sales/amortisation of euro area long-term debt securities (€62 billion) by non-euro area residents, which were offset by net purchases of euro area short-term debt securities and equity (€36 billion and €24 billion respectively).
The euro area net financial derivatives account (assets minus liabilities) recorded negative net flows of €2 billion.
Other investment recorded decreases of €85 billion in assets and €88 billion in liabilities. The net disposal of foreign assets by euro area residents is mainly attributable to the MFI sector (excluding the Eurosystem) (€103 billion). The net reduction of liabilities can be explained by the MFI sector (excluding the Eurosystem) (€104 billion) and other sectors (€17 billion), and was partially offset by the net incurrence of liabilities by the Eurosystem (€31 billion).
In the 12 months to September 2016 combined direct and portfolio investment recorded increases of €883 billion in assets and €241 billion in liabilities, compared with increases of €1,038 billion and €699 billion respectively in the 12 months to September 2015. The most relevant development was a shift in portfolio investment liabilities from net acquisitions of euro area securities by non-euro area residents (€300 billion) to net sales/amortisations (€31 billion).
Direct investment recorded decreases in the net acquisition of assets (from €636 billion to €386 billion) and the net incurrence of liabilities (from €400 billion to €273 billion). The development in assets was mainly the result of a decrease in the net acquisition of foreign debt instruments by euro area residents (from €191 billion to €4 billion).
According to the monetary presentation of the balance of payments, the net external assets of euro area MFIs decreased by €186 billion in the 12 months to September 2016, compared with an increase of €10 billion in the 12 months to September 2015. This reflected an increase in the surplus in the current and capital account balance (from €302 billion to €343 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 by non-euro area investors of debt securities (€158 billion) to net sales/amortisations (€159 billion).
In September 2016 the Eurosystem’s stock of reserve assets increased by €8.7 billion to €727.0 billion (see Table 3). This can mostly be explained by increases in deposits vis-à-vis foreign monetary authorities.
This press release incorporates revisions for July and August 2016. These revisions have not significantly altered the figures previously published.
Time series data: ECB’s Statistical Data Warehouse (SDW)
Methodological information: ECB’s websiteMonetary presentation of the balance of payments Next press releases:
- Quarterly balance of payments and international investment position: 13 January 2017 (reference data up to the third quarter of 2016);
- Monthly balance of payments: 20 December 2016 (reference data up to October 2016);
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
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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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