PRESS RELEASE

Euro area monthly balance of payments (November 2017)

19 January 2018
  • In November 2017 the current account of the euro area recorded a surplus of €32.5 billion.[1]
  • In the financial account, combined direct and portfolio investment recorded net acquisitions of assets of €45 billion and net incurrences of liabilities of €30 billion.

Chart 1: Balance of payments of the euro area: 12-month cumulated transactions
(as a percentage of GDP)

Source: ECB

Current account

The current account of the euro area recorded a surplus of €32.5 billion in November 2017 (see Table 1). This reflected surpluses for goods (€31.1 billion), primary income (€10.5 billion) and services (€4.5 billion), which were partly offset by a deficit for secondary income (€13.6 billion).

The 12-month cumulated current account for the period ending in November 2017 recorded a surplus of €386.1 billion (3.5% of euro area GDP), compared with one of €375.1 billion (3.5% of euro area GDP) for the 12 months to November 2016 (see Table 1 and Chart 1). This development was due to increases in the surpluses for services (from €43.4 billion to €73.7 billion) and primary income (from €98.7 billion to €112.6 billion). These were partly offset by a decrease in the surplus for goods (from €371.9 billion to €349.1 billion) and an increase in the deficit for secondary income (from €138.9 billion to €149.4 billion).

Financial account

In November 2017 combined direct and portfolio investment recorded net acquisitions of assets of €45 billion and net incurrences of liabilities of €30 billion (see Table 2).

Euro area residents recorded net disposals of €5 billion of direct investment assets as a result of net disinvestments in equity (€6 billion), which were partly offset by net investments in debt instruments (€1 billion). Direct investment liabilities increased by €13 billion as a result of net acquisitions of euro area equity (€24 billion) by non-euro area residents. This was partly offset by net disposals of euro area debt instruments by non-euro area residents (€11 billion).

As regards portfolio investment assets, euro area residents made net purchases of foreign securities amounting to €50 billion. This resulted from net acquisitions of long-term debt securities (€41 billion) and equity (€10 billion), which were partly offset by net sales/amortisations of short-term debt securities (€2 billion). Portfolio investment liabilities increased by €17 billion as a result of non-euro area residents’ net acquisitions of euro area equity (€16 billion) and long-term debt securities (€10 billion), which were partly offset by net sales/amortisations of short-term debt securities (€10 billion).

The euro area net financial derivatives account (assets minus liabilities) was close to balance.

Other investment recorded net acquisitions of assets amounting to €1 billion and net disposals of liabilities of €12 billion. The net acquisition of assets was explained by other sectors (€18 billion) and, to a lesser extent, by the Eurosystem (€3 billion). These were almost offset by decreases in assets of MFIs (excluding the Eurosystem) (€19 billion). The net disposal of liabilities was mainly attributable to MFIs (excluding the Eurosystem) (€20 billion) and general government (€2 billion). These were partly offset by net incurrences of liabilities by other sectors (€10 billion).

In the 12 months to November 2017 combined direct and portfolio investment recorded net acquisitions of assets of €776 billion and net incurrences of liabilities of €313 billion, compared with €915 billion and €300 billion respectively in the 12 months to November 2016. This resulted primarily from a decrease in the direct investment activities of both euro area residents abroad and non-residents in the euro area, with the net acquisition of equity assets decreasing from €552 billion to €77 billion and a shift in equity liabilities, from net investments of non-euro area residents of €448 billion to net disinvestments of €74 billion. Regarding portfolio investment, on the asset side there was an increase in the net purchases of foreign equity by euro area residents from €6 billion to €191 billion. On the liabilities side, non-euro area residents increased the net purchases of euro area equities from €95 billion to €450 billion.

According to the monetary presentation of the balance of payments, the net external assets of euro area monetary financial institutions (MFIs) decreased by €38 billion in the 12 months to November 2017, compared with a decrease of €285 billion in the 12 months to November 2016. The counterpart entries of the current and capital account surplus are essentially reflected in the net financial transactions of the non-MFIs, although in a more limited manner than in the 12 months to November 2016.

In November 2017 the Eurosystem’s stock of reserve assets decreased to €673.2 billion from €676.4 billion in the previous month (see Table 3). This decrease (€3.2 billion) was mainly explained by negative exchange rate (€4.5 billion) and price (€4.8 billion) changes, which were only partly offset by net acquisitions of assets (€6.2 billion).

Data revisions

This press release incorporates revisions to the data for October 2017. These revisions have not significantly altered the figures previously published.

Additional information

Time-series data: the ECB’s Statistical Data Warehouse (SDW)

Methodological information

Monetary presentation of the balance of payments

Next press releases:

  • monthly balance of payments: 19 February 2018 (reference data up to December 2017)
  • quarterly balance of payments and international investment position: 6 April 2018 (reference data up to the fourth quarter of 2017).

Annexes

For media queries, please contact Philippe Rispal, tel.: +49 69 1344 5482.



[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.

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