PRESS RELEASE

19 July 2019

Euro area monthly balance of payments: May 2019

  • In May 2019 the current account of the euro area recorded a surplus of €30 billion, compared with a surplus of €22 billion in April 2019.[1]
  • In the 12-month period to May 2019, the current account recorded a surplus of €323 billion (2.8% of euro area GDP), down from €392 billion (3.4% of euro area GDP) in the 12 months to May 2018.
  • In the financial account, euro area residents made net acquisitions of foreign portfolio investment securities totalling €61 billion in the 12-month period to May 2019 (decreasing from €555 billion in the 12-month period to May 2018). Non-residents’ net purchases of euro area portfolio investment securities amounted to €50 billion (down from €279 billion).

Chart 1

Euro area current account balance

(EUR billions unless otherwise indicated; working day and seasonally adjusted data)

C:\Users\mihaile\Desktop\press\Chart1.png

Source: ECB.

The current account of the euro area recorded a surplus of €30 billion in May 2019, an increase of €8 billion from the previous month (see Chart 1 and Table 1). Surpluses were recorded for goods (€27 billion), primary income (€8 billion) and services (€5 billion). These were partly offset by a deficit for secondary income (€10 billion).

Table 1

Current account of the euro area

(EUR billions unless otherwise indicated; transactions; working day and seasonally adjusted data)

C:\Users\mihaile\Desktop\press\Table1.png

Source: ECB.
Note: Discrepancies between totals and their components may be due to rounding.

Data for the current account of the euro area

In the 12 months to May 2019, the current account recorded a surplus of €323 billion (2.8% of euro area GDP), compared with a surplus of €392 billion (3.4% of euro area GDP) in the 12-month period to May 2018. This decline was driven by smaller surpluses for goods (down from €322 billion to €287 billion), services (down from €114 billion to €102 billion) and primary income (down from €94 billion to €92 billion), as well as by a larger deficit for secondary income (up from €138 billion to €158 billion).

Chart 2

Selected items of the euro area financial account

(EUR billions; 12-month cumulated data)

C:\Users\mihaile\Desktop\press\Chart2.png

Source: ECB.
Notes: For assets, a positive (negative) number indicates net purchases (sales) of non-euro area instruments by euro area investors. For liabilities, a positive (negative) number indicates net sales (purchases) of euro area instruments by non-euro area investors.

In direct investment, euro area residents made net disinvestments of €230 billion in non-euro area assets in the 12-month period to May 2019, compared with net investments of €43 billion in the 12 months to May 2018 (see Chart 2 and Table 2). Non-residents also made net disinvestments in the euro area, of €143 billion, continuing the net disinvestments of the 12-month period to May 2018 (€145 billion).

In portfolio investment, net acquisitions of foreign debt securities by euro area residents decreased to €104 billion in the 12-month period to May 2019, from €360 billion in the 12-month period to May 2018. Over the same period, euro area residents switched from net purchases of foreign equity (€195 billion) to net sales of €43 billion. Non-residents’ net purchases of euro area equity fell to €100 billion in the 12 months to May 2019, down from €362 in the 12-month period to May 2018. At the same time, their net sales of euro area debt securities decreased from €83 billion to €50 billion.

Table 2

Financial account of the euro area

(EUR billions unless otherwise indicated; transactions; non-working day and non-seasonally adjusted data)

C:\Users\mihaile\Desktop\press\Table2.png

Source: ECB.
Notes: Decreases in assets and liabilities are shown with a minus sign. Net financial derivatives are reported under assets. “MFIs” stands for monetary financial institutions. Discrepancies between totals and their components may be due to rounding.

Data for the financial account of the euro area

In other investment, euro area residents’ net acquisitions of foreign assets increased to €258 billion in the 12 months to May 2019 (up from €230 billion in the 12-month period to May 2018). Furthermore, their net incurrence of liabilities decreased to €39 billion from €300 billion.

Chart 3

Monetary presentation of the balance of payments

(EUR billions, 12-month cumulated data)

C:\Users\mihaile\Desktop\press\Chart3.png

Source: ECB.
Notes: MFI net external assets as reported in the consolidated MFI balance sheet items statistics. B.o.p. transactions refer only to transactions of non-MFI residents of the euro area. Financial transactions are shown as liabilities net of assets. “Other” includes financial derivatives, other investment and statistical discrepancies.

The monetary presentation of the balance of payments (see Chart 3) shows that the net external assets of euro area MFIs increased by €289 billion in the 12-month period to May 2019. This increase was driven mainly by the euro area’s current and capital accounts surplus and, to a lesser extent, by non‑MFIs’ net inflows in portfolio investment equity and direct investment. This was partly offset by euro area non-MFIs’ net outflows in portfolio investment debt securities.

In May 2019 the Eurosystem’s stock of reserve assets increased to €751.0 billion, up from €740.4 billion in the previous month (see Table 3). This increase of €10.6 billion was driven mainly by positive price changes of monetary gold, and to a lesser extent by net acquisitions of assets and positive exchange rate changes.

Table 3

Reserve assets of the euro area

(EUR billions; amounts outstanding at the end of the period, flows during the period; non-working day and non-seasonally adjusted data)

C:\Users\mihaile\Desktop\press\Table3.png

Source: ECB.
Note: “Other reserve assets” comprises currency and deposits, securities, financial derivatives (net) and other claims.

Data for the reserve assets of the euro area

Data revisions

This press release incorporates revisions to the data for April 2019. These revisions did not significantly alter the figures previously published.

Next press releases:

  • monthly balance of payments: 19 August 2019 (reference data up to June 2019)
  • quarterly balance of payments and international investment position: 2 October 2019 (reference data up to the second quarter of 2019)

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

Notes

Hyperlinks in this press release lead to data that may change with subsequent releases as a result of revisions.

[1]Current account data are seasonally and working day-adjusted, unless otherwise indicated, whereas capital and financial account data are neither seasonally nor working day-adjusted.

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