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  • Press release

Euro area monthly balance of payments: July 2021

17 September 2021

  • Current account recorded €22 billion surplus in July 2021, unchanged from the previous month
  • Current account surplus amounted to €320 billion (2.7% of euro area GDP) in 12 months to July 2021, up from €232 billion (2.0%) one year earlier
  • In financial account, euro area residents’ net acquisitions of non-euro area portfolio investment securities totalled €961 billion and non-residents’ net acquisitions of euro area portfolio investment securities totalled €61 billion in 12 months to July 2021

Chart 1

Euro area current account balance

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

Source: ECB.

The current account of the euro area recorded a surplus of €22 billion in July 2021, unchanged from the previous month (Chart 1 and Table 1). Surpluses were recorded for goods (€26 billion), services (€6 billion) and primary income (€3 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)

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 July 2021, the current account recorded a surplus of €320 billion (2.7% of euro area GDP), compared with a surplus of €232 billion (2.0% of euro area GDP) in the 12 months to July 2020. This increase was driven by larger surpluses for goods (up from €313 billion to €369 billion), services (up from €40 billion to €87 billion) and primary income (up from €32 billion to €35 billion). These developments were partly offset by a larger deficit for secondary income (up from €153 billion to €171 billion).

Chart 2

Selected items of the euro area financial account

(EUR billions; 12-month cumulated data)

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 €29 billion in non-euro area assets in the 12-month period to July 2021, following net disinvestments of €97 billion in the 12 months to July 2020 (Chart 2 and Table 2). Non-residents’ net investments in euro area assets increased to €37 billion in the 12-month period to July 2021, up from €30 billion in the 12 months to July 2020.

In portfolio investment, euro area residents’ net purchases of non-euro area equity increased to €546 billion in the 12-month period to July 2021, up from €118 billion in the 12 months to July 2020. Over the same period, net purchases of non-euro area debt securities by euro area residents increased to €415 billion, up from €395 billion in the 12 months to July 2020. Non-residents’ net purchases of euro area equity increased to €261 billion in the 12-month period to July 2021, up from €235 billion in the 12 months to July 2020. Over the same period, non-residents made net sales of euro area debt securities amounting to €200 billion, following net purchases of €200 billion in the 12 months to July 2020.

Table 2

Financial account of the euro area

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

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 recorded net disposals of non-euro area assets amounting to €2 billion in the 12 months to July 2021 (following net acquisitions of €144 billion in the 12 months to July 2020), while their net incurrence of liabilities was €428 billion (following net disposals of €16 billion in the 12 months to July 2020).

Chart 3

Monetary presentation of the balance of payments

(EUR billions; 12-month cumulated data)

Source: ECB.

Notes: “MFI net external assets (enhanced)” incorporates an adjustment to the MFI net external assets (as reported in the consolidated MFI balance sheet items statistics) based on information on MFI long-term liabilities held by non-residents, available in b.o.p. 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 and statistical discrepancies.

The monetary presentation of the balance of payments (Chart 3) shows that the net external assets (enhanced) of euro area MFIs decreased by €70 billion in the 12-month period to July 2021. This decrease was driven by euro area non-MFIs’ net outflows in portfolio investment debt and portfolio investment equity. These developments were partially offset by the current and capital accounts surplus and, to a lesser extent, by euro area non-MFIs’ net inflows in other investment, direct investment and other flows.

In July 2021 the Eurosystem’s stock of reserve assets increased to €888.5 billion, up from €869.0 billion in the previous month (Table 3). This increase was mainly driven by positive changes in the price of gold (€19.3 billion) and, to a lesser extent, by positive exchange rate changes (€0.2 billion), which were partly offset by net disposals of assets (€0.3 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)

Source: ECB.

Notes: “Other reserve assets” comprises currency and deposits, securities, financial derivatives (net) and other claims. Discrepancies between totals and their components may be due to rounding.

Data for the reserve assets of the euro area

Data revisions

This press release does not incorporate revisions to previous periods.

Next releases:

  • Quarterly balance of payments and international investment position: 4 October 2021 (reference data up to the second quarter of 2021)
  • Monthly balance of payments: 20 October 2021 (reference data up to August 2021)

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

Notes

  • Current account data are always seasonally and working day-adjusted, unless otherwise indicated, whereas capital and financial account data are neither seasonally nor working day-adjusted.
  • Hyperlinks in this press release lead to data that may change with subsequent releases as a result of revisions.
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