BoG: Greek current account balance shows 1.0 billion euros surplus in September

Greece’s current account balance showed a surplus of 1.0 billion euros in September, an improvement of 104 million on a year-on-year basis, as a result of an increase of 255 million euros in the balance of goods and services surplus, which reached 1.1 billion, the Bank of Greece said on Monday.

The central bank, in a monthly report, said that total exports of goods and services grew faster (12.6 pct) than the corresponding imports (9.1 pct). By contrast, the primary and secondary income accounts deteriorated. The deficit of the balance of goods declined year-on-year, owing to an improvement in the oil balance, which offset an increase in the deficit of the non-oil balance. Non-oil exports rose year-on-year, by 12.2 pct and 15.1 pct at current and constant prices respectively. This rise was offset by an increase in non-oil imports of goods.

The surplus of the services balance grew by 178 million euros, as in September all subaccounts improved year-on-year. The largest increase was registered in the transport balance on account of higher net air and sea transport receipts. As regards the travel balance, non-residents’ arrivals increased by 13.7 pct and the relevant receipts by 2.3 pct. Net other services receipts improved as well.

In September 2016, the primary and the secondary income accounts deteriorated year-on-year.

In the January-September 2016 period, the current account showed a surplus of 1.4 billion euros, down by 456 million year-on-year. More specifically, the primary and the secondary income accounts improved, while the balance of goods and services deteriorated.

The balance of goods showed an improvement of 740 million euros, which reflects the improved oil balance and reduced net payments for purchases of ships. By contrast, the deficit of the balance of goods excluding oil and ships grew, chiefly on account of an increase in the value of imports, while the value of the corresponding exports remained unchanged. It should be noted that, at constant prices, total exports of goods rose by 7.6 pct, reflecting mainly a rise in the volume of oil exports, while non-oil exports of goods also grew by 3 pct.

The surplus of the services balance dropped by 1.8 billion euros year-on-year, mainly due to a significant decline in net transport receipts, which is largely attributable to capital controls. Net travel receipts also recorded a fall. Total non-residents’ arrivals increased by 3.5 pct, while the corresponding receipts declined by 5.5 pct. These developments were offset to a small extent by an improvement in the other services balance.

In the January-September 2016 period, the primary income account showed a surplus of 504 million euros, up by 330 million year-on-year.

In September 2016, the capital account showed a small deficit of 25 million euros, which was lower than that in the same month of 2015, while in the January-September 2016 period it showed a surplus of 613 million, up by 60 million year-on-year.

In September 2016, under direct investment, residents’ external assets rose by 114 million euros, with no remarkable transactions.

In the January-September 2016, period, residents’ assets from direct investment abroad declined by 809 million euros, while the corresponding liabilities, that represent non-residents’ direct investment in Greece, increased by 1.8 billion, compared with a rise of 688 million in the same period of 2015.

At the end of September 2016, Greece’s reserve assets stood at 6.8 billion euros, compared with 5.1 billion at the end of September 2015.