PRESS RELEASE

Euro area monthly balance of payments: August 2019

18 October 2019

  • In August 2019 the current account of the euro area recorded a surplus of €27 billion, compared with a surplus of €22 billion in July 2019.
  • In the 12-month period to August 2019, the current account recorded a surplus of €312 billion (2.7% of euro area GDP), compared with a surplus of €398 billion (3.5% of euro area GDP) in the 12 months to August 2018.
  • In the financial account, euro area residents made net acquisitions of foreign portfolio investment securities totalling €153 billion in the 12-month period to August 2019 (down from €411 billion in the 12 months to August 2018). Over the same period, non-residents made net acquisitions of euro area portfolio investment securities amounting to €208 billion (up from €153 billion).

Chart 1

Euro area current account balance

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

C:\Users\schmitz\Downloads\Chart 1.png

Source: ECB.

The current account of the euro area recorded a surplus of €27 billion in August 2019, increasing by €5 billion from the previous month (see Chart 1 and Table 1). Surpluses were recorded for goods (€28 billion), primary income (€7 billion) and services (€5 billion). These were partly offset by a deficit for secondary income (€14 billion).

Table 1

Current account of the euro area

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

C:\Users\schmitz\Downloads\Table 1.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 August 2019, the current account recorded a surplus of €312 billion (2.7% of euro area GDP), compared with a surplus of €398 billion (3.5% of euro area GDP) in the 12 months to August 2018. All major components contributed to this decline, particularly a smaller surplus for services (down from €119 billion to €73 billion) and a bigger deficit for secondary income (up from €138 billion to €161 billion). Smaller surpluses were also recorded for goods (down from €328 billion to €314 billion) and primary income (down from €89 billion to €86 billion).

Chart 2

Selected items of the euro area financial account

(EUR billions; 12-month cumulated data)

C:\Users\schmitz\Downloads\Chart 2 (1).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 €398 billion in non-euro area assets in the 12-month period to August 2019, following net investments of €207 billion in the 12 months to August 2018 (see Chart 2 and Table 2). At the same time, non-residents made net disinvestments in euro area assets of €279 billion in the 12-month period to August 2019, compared with net investments of €43 billion in the 12-month period to August 2018.

In portfolio investment, net acquisitions of foreign debt securities by euro area residents decreased to €192 billion in the 12-month period to August 2019, following net purchases of €275 billion in the 12 months to August 2018. Over the same period, euro area residents made net sales of foreign equity of €39 billion, after net acquisitions of €136 billion in the 12 months to August 2018. Non-residents were net buyers of euro area debt securities (€62 billion) in the 12 months to August 2019, after recording net sales of €108 billion in the 12 months to August 2018. Over the same period, non-residents’ net acquisitions of euro area equity fell to €146 billion from €261 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\schmitz\Downloads\TAble 2.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 €431 billion in the 12 months to August 2019 (compared with €220 billion in the 12 months to August 2018), while their net incurrence of liabilities decreased to €130 billion from €350 billion.

Chart 3

Monetary presentation of the balance of payments

(EUR billions, 12-month cumulated data)

C:\Users\schmitz\Downloads\Chart 3.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 €361 billion in the 12-month period to August 2019. This increase was mainly driven by the euro area’s current and capital accounts surplus and, to a lesser extent, by euro area non-MFIs’ net inflows in portfolio investment equity and direct investment. The increase was only partly offset by net outflows in non-MFIs’ portfolio investment debt securities.

In August 2019 the Eurosystem’s stock of reserve assets increased to €836.5 billion, up from €797.9 billion in the previous month (see Table 3). This increase was largely driven by positive price changes (€34.5 billion) and to a lesser extent by exchange rate changes (€3.4 billion) and net acquisitions of assets (€0.8 billion).

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\schmitz\Downloads\Table 3.png

Source: ECB.
Note: “Other reserve assets” comprise 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 data revisions to all reference periods since January 2008, reflecting revised national contributions to euro area aggregates in the context of national benchmark revisions. In addition, this press release includes revisions to the seasonally adjusted series for the components of the current account from January 2008 also due to the incorporation of newly estimated seasonal and calendar factors. These revisions did not significantly alter the figures previously published.

Next press releases:

  • monthly balance of payments: 19 November 2019 (reference data up to September 2019)
  • quarterly balance of payments and international investment position: 10 January 2020 (reference data up to the third quarter of 2019)

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

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