Greek current account balance shows a surplus of 430 million euros in the January-August period

Greek current account balance showed a surplus of 430 million euros in the January-August period, down 560 million compared with the same period last year, the Bank of Greece said on Friday.

The central bank, in a report, said that the primary and the secondary income accounts improved, while the balance of goods and services deteriorated. The balance of goods showed an amelioration of 663 million euros, which reflects the improved oil balance and reduced net payments for purchases of ships, whereas the deficit of the balance of goods excluding oil and ships grew, chiefly on account of an increase in imports. It should be noted that, at constant prices, total exports of goods rose by 6%, reflecting mainly a rise in the volume of oil exports, while non-oil exports also grew by 1.4%.

The surplus of the services balance dropped by 1.9 billion euros year-on-year, 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 1.3 pct, while the corresponding receipts declined by 7.1 pct. These developments were offset to a small extent by an improvement in the other services balance.

In the January-August 2016 period, the primary income account showed a surplus of 467 million euros, up by 373 million year-on-year. The secondary income account also improved. Residents’ assets from direct investment abroad declined by 923 million euros, while the corresponding liabilities, which represent non-residents’ direct investment in Greece, increased by 1.4 billion.

Under portfolio investment, residents’ external assets registered an increase of 5.6 billion euros. Under other investment, a decline of 9.5 billion euros in residents’ external assets largely reflects a decrease of 6.5 billion in resident credit institutions’ and institutional investors’ deposit and repo holdings abroad, and the statistical adjustment related to the issuance of banknotes.(1) On the liabilities side, a drop of 4.5 billion was recorded, which is attributable both to a decrease in non-residents’ deposit and repo holdings in Greece (the TARGET account included) and to the effect of the statistical adjustment. These developments were partly offset by an increase in the outstanding debt of the public and the private sector to non-residents.

In August 2016, the current account showed a surplus of 1.8 billion, down by 379 million year-on-year. This development is attributable to a decline in the surplus of the services balance and to the deterioration in the primary and the secondary income accounts.

At the end of August 2016, Greece’s reserve assets stood at 6.8 billion euros, compared with 5.0 billion at the end of August 2015.