Euro area monthly balance of payments (November 2016)
- In November 2016 the current account of the euro area recorded a surplus of €36.1 billion.
- In the financial account, combined direct and portfolio investment recorded net acquisitions of assets of €30 billion and net incurrences of liabilities of €36 billion.
The current account of the euro area recorded a surplus of €36.1 billion in November 2016 (see Table 1). This reflected surpluses for goods (€30.9 billion), primary income (€12.1 billion) and services (€4.8 billion), which were partly offset by a deficit for secondary income (€11.7 billion).
The 12-month cumulated current account for the period ending in November 2016 recorded a surplus of €358.1 billion (3.4% of euro area GDP), compared with one of €319.9 billion (3.1% of euro area GDP) for the 12 months to November 2015 (see Table 1 and Chart 1). This was due to increases in the surpluses for goods (from €344.3 billion to €370.2 billion) and services (from €59.2 billion to €68.4 billion), as well as a decrease in the deficit for secondary income (from €132.7 billion to €127.6 billion). These were offset to a limited extent by a decrease in the surplus for primary income (from €49.1 billion to €47.1 billion).
In November 2016 combined direct and portfolio investment recorded net acquisitions of assets of €30 billion and net incurrences of liabilities of €36 billion (see Table 2).
Euro area residents recorded net acquisitions of €52 billion of direct investment assets as a result of net acquisitions of both debt instruments (€31 billion) and equity (€22 billion). Direct investment liabilities increased by €20 billion as a result of net acquisitions of euro area debt instruments (€16 billion) and equity (€4 billion) by non-euro area residents.
As regards portfolio investment assets, euro area residents made net disposals of foreign securities amounting to €22 billion. This resulted from net sales/amortisations of equity (€8 billion), short-term debt securities (€8 billion) and long-term debt securities (€6 billion). Portfolio investment liabilities recorded net incurrences of €16 billion as a result of net acquisitions of euro area equity (€18 billion) and long-term debt securities (€3 billion) by non-euro area residents. These were partly offset by net sales/amortisation of euro area short-term debt securities (€6 billion) by non-euro area residents.
The euro area net financial derivatives account (assets minus liabilities) recorded positive net flows of €2 billion.
Other investment recorded a net increase of €9 billion in assets and a net decrease of €25 billion in liabilities. The net acquisition of foreign assets by euro area residents is mainly attributable to other sectors (€32 billion) and was partly offset by net disposals of the MFI sector (excluding the Eurosystem) (€22 billion). The net decrease in liabilities is explained by net disposals of the MFI sector (excluding the Eurosystem) (€43 billion), which were partly offset by net incurrences of the Eurosystem and other sectors (€13 and €7 billion respectively).
In the 12 months to November 2016 combined direct and portfolio investment recorded increases of €817 billion in assets and €89 billion in liabilities, compared with increases of €1,059 billion and €785 billion respectively in the 12 months to November 2015. The most significant development was a shift in portfolio investment liabilities from net acquisitions of euro area debt securities by non-euro area residents of €99 billion to net sales/amortisations of €225 billion.
According to the monetary presentation of the balance of payments, the net external assets of euro area MFIs decreased by €215 billion in the 12 months to November 2016, compared with a decrease of €93 billion in the 12 months to November 2015. This reflected an increase in the surplus in the current and capital account balance (from €303 billion to €358 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 of debt securities by non-euro area investors (€127 billion) to net sales/amortisations (€141 billion).
In November 2016 the Eurosystem’s stock of reserve assets decreased by €10.7 billion to €706.6 billion (see Table 3). This can largely be explained by negative price revaluations (€17.9 billion), particularly of monetary gold, which were partly offset by positive exchange rate developments (€4.9 billion) and net acquisitions of reserve assets (€2.2 billion).
This press release incorporates revisions for October 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:
- Monthly balance of payments: 17 February 2017 (reference data up to December 2016);
- Quarterly balance of payments and international investment position: 6 April 2017 (reference data up to the fourth quarter of 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.