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  • PRESS RELEASE

Euro area monthly balance of payments: February 2022

22 April 2022

  • Current account recorded €21 billion surplus in February 2022, down from €22 billion in previous month
  • Current account surplus amounted to €253 billion (2.1% of euro area GDP) in 12 months to February 2022, down from €271 billion (2.4%) one year earlier
  • In financial account, euro area residents’ net acquisitions of non-euro area portfolio investment securities totalled €588 billion and non-residents’ net acquisitions of euro area portfolio investment securities totalled €282 billion in 12 months to February 2022

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 €21 billion in February 2022, a decrease of €1 billion from the previous month (Chart 1 and Table 1). Surpluses were recorded for services (€14 billion), goods (€10 billion) and primary income (€7 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)

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 February 2022, the current account recorded a surplus of €253 billion (2.1% of euro area GDP), compared with a surplus of €271 billion (2.4% of euro area GDP) in the 12 months to February 2021. This decline was driven by a reduction in the surplus for goods (down from €358 billion to €235 billion). This development was partly offset by larger surpluses for services (up from €47 billion to €109 billion) and primary income (up from €32 billion to €64 billion) and, to a lesser extent, a smaller deficit for secondary income (down from €166 billion to €154 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 investments of €132 billion in non-euro area assets in the 12-month period to February 2022, following net investments of €84 billion in the 12 months to February 2021 (Chart 2 and Table 2). At the same time, non-residents disinvested €119 billion in net terms from euro area assets in the 12-month period to February 2022, following net acquisitions of €154 billion in the 12 months to February 2021.

In portfolio investment, net purchases of non-euro area debt securities by euro area residents decreased to €341 billion in the 12-month period to February 2022, following net purchases of €404 billion in the 12 months to February 2021. Over the same period, euro area residents made net purchases of non-euro area equity amounting to €247 billion, after net purchases of €401 billion in the 12 months to February 2021. Conversely, non-residents continued making net sales of euro area debt securities, totalling €139 billion, in the 12 months to February 2022, after net sales of €101 billion in the 12 months to February 2021. Over the same period, non-residents’ net purchases of euro area equity increased to €420 billion from €176 billion.

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 acquisitions of non-euro area assets amounting to €304 billion in the 12 months to February 2022 (following net disposals of €43 billion in the 12 months to February 2021), while their net incurrence of liabilities increased to €816 billion (up from €311 billion in the 12 months to February 2021).

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 €261 billion in the 12-month period to February 2022. This decrease was driven by euro area non-MFIs’ net outflows in portfolio investment debt and direct investment. These developments were partly offset by the current and capital accounts surplus and by euro area non-MFIs’ net inflows in portfolio investment equity.

In February 2022 the Eurosystem’s stock of reserve assets increased to €1,092.0 billion, up from €1,056.9 billion in the previous month (Table 3). This increase was driven by net positive price changes (€34.5 billion, of which €35.0 billion due to monetary gold) and, to a lesser extent, by net acquisitions of assets (€1.7 billion), which were only partly offset by negative exchange rate changes (€1.0 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 or other volume changes.

Data for the reserve assets of the euro area

Data revisions

This press release incorporates revisions to the data for January 2022. These revisions did not significantly alter the figures previously published.

Next releases:

  • Monthly balance of payments: 19 May 2022 (reference data up to March 2022)
  • Quarterly balance of payments and international investment position: 5 July 2022 (reference data up to the first quarter of 2022)

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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