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PRESS RELEASE

Euro area monthly balance of payments (September 2016)

18 November 2016
  • In September 2016 the current account of the euro area recorded a surplus of €25.3 billion.[1]
  • 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.

Current account

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).

Financial account

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.

Data revisions

This press release incorporates revisions for July and August 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:
  • 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);

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.

CONTACTO

Banco Central Europeu

Direção-Geral de Comunicação

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