Euro area monthly balance of payments
- In February 2017 the current account of the euro area recorded a surplus of €37.9 billion.
- In the financial account, combined direct and portfolio investment recorded net acquisitions of assets of €149 billion and net incurrences of liabilities of €76 billion.
The current account of the euro area recorded a surplus of €37.9 billion in February 2017 (see Table 1). This reflected surpluses for goods (€29.5 billion), services (€9.5 billion) and primary income (€4.2 billion), which were partly offset by a deficit for secondary income (€5.4 billion).
The 12-month cumulated current account for the period ending in February 2017 recorded a surplus of €360.2 billion (3.4% of euro area GDP), compared with one of €341.2 billion (3.2% of euro area GDP) for the 12 months to February 2016 (see Table 1 and Chart 1). This was due to increases in the surpluses for goods (from €344.0 billion to €368.6 billion) and primary income (from €53.7 billion to €79.5 billion). These were partly offset by a decrease in the surplus of services (from €70.7 billion to €49.5 billion) and an increase in the deficit for secondary income (from €127.1 billion to €137.4 billion).
In February 2017 combined direct and portfolio investment recorded net acquisitions of assets of €149 billion and net incurrences of liabilities of €76 billion (see Table 2).
Euro area residents recorded net acquisitions of €95 billion of direct investment assets as a result of net acquisitions of both equity (€19 billion) and debt instruments (€76 billion). Direct investment liabilities also increased by €95 billion as a result of net acquisitions of euro area equity (€4 billion) and debt instruments (€91 billion) by non-euro area residents.
As regards portfolio investment assets, euro area residents made net acquisitions of foreign securities amounting to €54 billion. This resulted from net purchases of long-term debt securities (€34 billion), short-term debt securities (€11 billion) and equity (€10 billion). Portfolio investment liabilities recorded net reductions of €19 billion as a result of net sales/amortisations of euro area long-term debt securities (€26 billion) and equity (€4 billion) by non-euro area residents. These net sales/amortisations were partly offset by net acquisitions of euro area short-term debt securities (€10 billion) by noneuro area residents.
The euro area net financial derivatives account (assets minus liabilities) recorded positive net flows of €5 billion.
Other investment recorded increases of €34 billion in assets and €117 billion in liabilities. The net acquisition of foreign assets by euro area residents is mainly attributable to the MFI sector (excluding the Eurosystem) (€28 billion). The net incurrence of liabilities is largely explained by the MFI sector (excluding the Eurosystem) (€58 billion), by the Eurosystem (€32 billion) and by other sectors (€28 billion).
In the 12 months to February 2017 combined direct and portfolio investment recorded increases of €848 billion in assets and €227 billion in liabilities, compared with increases of €1,170 billion and €651 billion respectively in the 12 months to February 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 €760 billion to €438 billion and the net incurrence of liabilities decreasing from €582 billion to €285 billion.
According to the monetary presentation of the balance of payments, the net external assets of euro area MFIs decreased by €243 billion in the 12 months to February 2017, compared with a decrease of €65 billion in the 12 months to February 2016. This reflected an increase in the surplus in the current and capital account balance (from €328 billion to €355 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 (€24 billion) to net sales/amortisations (€227 billion).
In February 2017 the Eurosystem’s stock of reserve assets increased by €28.7 billion to €735.7 billion (see Table 3). This is mainly explained by positive price revaluations of monetary gold (€21.9 billion) and exchange rate developments (€5.2 billion).
This press release incorporates revisions to the data for the period of January 2017. These revisions have not significantly altered the figures previously published.
Time series data: ECB’s Statistical Data Warehouse (SDW)
Monetary presentation of the balance of payments
- Monthly balance of payments: 19 May 2017 (reference data up to March 2017);
- Quarterly balance of payments and international investment position: 5 July 2017 (reference data up to the first quarter of 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.