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  • PRESS RELEASE

Euro area monthly balance of payments (April 2018)

19 June 2018

  • In April 2018 the euro area current account recorded a surplus of €28.4 billion.[1]
  • In the financial account, combined direct and portfolio investment recorded net acquisitions of assets of €41 billion and net disposals of liabilities of €20 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 €28.4 billion in April 2018 (see Table 1). This reflected surpluses for goods (€21.0 billion), services (€9.6 billion) and primary income (€8.5 billion), which were partly offset by a deficit for secondary income (€10.7 billion).

The 12-month cumulated current account for the period ending in April 2018 recorded a surplus of €413.7 billion (3.7% of euro area GDP), compared with €361.3 billion (3.3% of euro area GDP) in the 12 months to April 2017 (see Table 1 and Chart 1). This development was due to increases in the surpluses for services (from €46.1 billion to €106.1 billion) and goods (from €347.2 billion to €353.9 billion), and to a decrease in the deficit for secondary income (from €147.2 billion to €138.3 billion). These were partially offset by a decrease in the surplus for primary income (from €115.2 billion to €92.0 billion).

Financial account

In April 2018 combined direct and portfolio investment recorded net acquisitions of assets of €41 billion and net disposals of liabilities of €20 billion (see Table 2).

Euro area residents recorded net acquisitions of €21 billion of direct investment assets as a result of net investments in equity (€18 billion) and debt instruments (€3 billion). Direct investment liabilities decreased by €14 billion as a result of net withdrawals of euro area equity (€8 billion) and debt instruments (€6 billion) by non-euro area residents.

As regards portfolio investment assets, in April 2018 euro area residents made net purchases of foreign securities amounting to €20 billion. These net purchases were in the form of equity (€17 billion) and long-term debt securities (€4 billion), while euro area residents made net sales of foreign short-term debt securities (€1 billion). Portfolio investment liabilities decreased by €6 billion as a result of non-euro area residents’ net sales/amortisations of euro area short-term debt securities (€8 billion) and equity (€7 billion), which were partly offset by net acquisitions of euro area long-term debt securities (€9 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 net acquisitions of assets amounting to €60 billion and net incurrences of liabilities of €124 billion. The net increase in assets was mainly due to MFIs (excluding the Eurosystem) (€56 billion) and, to a lesser extent, other sectors (€7 billion), which were partly offset by a decrease in the net assets of general government (€3 billion). The net incurrences of liabilities were mainly attributable to MFIs (excluding the Eurosystem) (€168 billion) and to other sectors (€10 billion). These developments were partly offset by a net reduction in liabilities by the Eurosystem (€51 billion).

In the 12 months to April 2018, combined direct and portfolio investment recorded net acquisitions of assets of €631 billion and net incurrences of liabilities of €186 billion, compared with €887 billion and €360 billion, respectively, in the 12 months to April 2017.

In direct investment, there was a significant decrease in the net investments of euro area residents abroad and a shift to net disinvestment of non-residents in the euro area. The net acquisitions of equity by euro area residents declined from €425 billion to €48 billion, while transactions in debt instruments shifted from net investments of €41 billion to net disinvestments of €11 billion. On the liability side, transactions in euro area equity by non-residents also shifted from net investments of €153 billion to net disinvestments of €220 billion, while intercompany lending recorded a slight decrease in net investments from €95 billion to €91 billion.

Concerning portfolio investment, the net purchases of foreign equity and debt securities by euro area residents increased from €88 billion to €183 billion and from €332 billion to €411 billion, respectively. On the liability side, the net purchases of euro area equity by non-euro area residents increased from €268 billion to €373 billion, while the net sales/amortisations of euro area debt securities decreased from €156 billion to €58 billion, driven by a decrease in the net sales/amortisations of euro area long-term debt securities from €203 billion to €26 billion.

According to the monetary presentation of the balance of payments, the net external assets of euro area monetary financial institutions (MFIs) decreased by €62 billion in the 12 months to April 2018, compared with a decrease of €200 billion in the 12 months to April 2017. This was mainly due to an increase in the current and capital accounts balance and to developments in the portfolio equity investment of the non-MFIs.

In April 2018 the Eurosystem’s stock of reserve assets increased to €677.1 billion from €673.4 billion in the previous month (see Table 3). This increase (€3.7 billion) was mainly due to positive price changes (€3.8 billion) and exchange rate changes (€3.6 billion), which were partly offset by net disposals of assets (€3.7 billion).

Data revisions

This press release incorporates revisions to the data for the period from January to March 2018. These revisions have not significantly altered the figures published previously.

Additional information

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

Methodological information

Monetary presentation of the balance of payments

Next press releases:
  • quarterly balance of payments and international investment position: 4 July 2018[2] (reference data up to the first quarter of 2018)
  • monthly balance of payments: 20 July 2018 (reference data up to May 2018).

Annexes

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

  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.
  2. [2]The quarterly press release on 4 July 2018 will incorporate revisions (up to March 2018) to the monthly data published in this present monthly press release.
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