Euro area monthly balance of payments (January 2017)
In January 2017 the current account of the euro area recorded a surplus of €24.1 billion.
In the financial account, combined direct and portfolio investment recorded net acquisitions of assets of €153 billion and net incurrences of liabilities of €120 billion.
The current account of the euro area recorded a surplus of €24.1 billion in January 2017 (see Table 1). This reflected surpluses for goods (€24.1 billion), primary income (€12.1 billion) and services (€3.5 billion), which were partly offset by a deficit for secondary income (€15.5 billion).
The 12-month cumulated current account for the period ending in January 2017 recorded a surplus of €357.9 billion (3.3% of euro area GDP), compared with one of €321.6 billion (3.1% of euro area GDP) for the 12 months to January 2016 (see Table 1 and Chart 1). This was due to increases in the surpluses for goods (from €346.8 billion to €366.3 billion), primary income (from €42.5 billion to €59.3 billion) and services (from €58.6 billion to €68.5 billion). These were partly offset by an increase in the deficit for secondary income (from €126.3 billion to €136.3 billion).
In January 2017 combined direct and portfolio investment recorded net acquisitions of assets of €153 billion and net incurrences of liabilities of €120 billion (see Table 2).
Euro area residents recorded net acquisitions of €109 billion of direct investment assets as a result of net acquisitions of both equity (€103 billion) and debt instruments (€6 billion). Direct investment liabilities increased by €92 billion as a result of net acquisitions of euro area equity (€90 billion) and debt instruments (€3 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 long-term debt securities (€25 billion) and equity (€24 billion), which were partly offset by net sales of short-term debt securities (€5 billion). Portfolio investment liabilities recorded net incurrences of €27 billion as a result of net acquisitions of euro area equity (€20 billion) and short-term debt securities (€22 billion) by non-euro area residents. These were partly offset by net sales/amortisations of euro area long-term debt securities (€15 billion) by non‑euro area residents.
The euro area net financial derivatives account (assets minus liabilities) recorded positive net flows of €4 billion.
Other investment recorded increases of €231 billion in assets and €243 billion in liabilities. The net acquisition of foreign assets by euro area residents is mainly attributable to the MFI sector (excluding the Eurosystem) (€237 billion). The net incurrence of liabilities can also be explained by the MFI sector (excluding the Eurosystem) (€259 billion) and, to a limited extent, by other sectors (€22 billion).
In the 12 months to January 2017 combined direct and portfolio investment recorded increases of €767 billion in assets and €63 billion in liabilities, compared with increases of €1,125 billion and €684 billion respectively in the 12 months to January 2016. This resulted from a significant decrease in the direct investment activity of both euro area residents abroad and non-residents in the euro area, with the net acquisition of assets decreasing from €730 billion to €381 billion and the net incurrence of liabilities decreasing from €568 billion to €66 billion.
According to the monetary presentation of the balance of payments, the net external assets of euro area MFIs decreased by €193 billion in the 12 months to January 2017, compared with a decrease of €56 billion in the 12 months to January 2016. This reflected an increase in the surplus in the current and capital account balance (from €305 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 (€35 billion) to net sales/amortisations (€155 billion).
In January 2017 the Eurosystem’s stock of reserve assets decreased by €0.7 billion to €707.0 billion (see Table 3). This can be explained by net sales of reserve assets (€5.1 billion) and negative exchange rate developments (€3.4 billion), which were almost entirely offset by positive price revaluations, particularly of monetary gold (€7.7 billion).
This press release incorporates revisions to the data for the period from October to December 2016. These revisions have not significantly altered the figures previously published.
Time series data: ECB’s Statistical Data Warehouse (SDW)
- Quarterly balance of payments and international investment position: 6 April 2017 (reference data up to the fourth quarter of 2016);
- Monthly balance of payments: 21 April 2017 (reference data up to February 2017);
- 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.