Greek current account balance shows small deficit in January-November

Greece’s current account showed a deficit of 1.2 billion euros in November, almost unchanged from its level in November 2015, the Bank of Greece said on Friday.

The central bank, in a monthly report, said that year-on-year, total exports of goods and services grew faster (9.7 pct) than the corresponding imports (6.7 pct) and the overall balance of goods and services did not change considerably. The primary and the secondary income account also did not record any remarkable change.

The deficit of the balance of goods recorded a small increase, as the improvement in the non-oil balance of goods was more than offset by higher net oil imports. Non-oil exports rose year-on-year by 14.4 pct and 14.8 pct at current and constant prices, respectively. A rise was also recorded in non-oil imports, of 3.3 pct and 3.5 pct at current and constant prices, respectively.

The surplus of the services balance grew by 61 million euros year-on-year, as a result of higher net transport and other services receipts. By contrast, net travel receipts declined. More specifically, in November, non-residents’ arrivals increased by 11.7 pct, but the corresponding receipts decreased by 13.8 pct.

In November 2016, the primary income account showed a surplus of 77 million euros, up by 26 million year-on-year.

In the January-November 2016 period, the current account recorded a small deficit of 171 million euros, against a surplus of 990 million in the same period of 2015. This development is mainly accounted for by a worsening of the services balance. In particular, the lower deficit of the balance of goods did not offset a decline in the surplus of the services balance, which resulted in a deterioration in the overall balance of goods and services. Moreover, the primary income account worsened, while the secondary income account improved.

During the same period, the balance of goods showed an amelioration of 684 million euros, which reflects the reduced deficit of the oil balance and lower net payments for purchases of ships in comparison with the corresponding period of 2015. 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 (4.3 pct), while the value of the corresponding exports registered a small rise (1.7 pct). It should be noted that, in the January-November 2016 period, at constant prices, total exports of goods rose by 6.9 pct, reflecting mainly a rise in the volume of oil exports, while non-oil exports of goods also grew by 4.1 pct.

The surplus of the services balance dropped by 1.9 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 4.9 pct, while the corresponding receipts declined by 6.6 pct.

These developments were offset to a small extent by an improvement in the other services balance.

In the January-November 2016 period, the primary income account showed a surplus of 618 million euros, down by 62 million year-on-year.

In November 2016, the capital account showed a surplus of 117 million euros, down by 73 million year-on-year, while in the January-November 2016 period it showed a surplus of 756 million euros, down by 1.1 billion year-on-year. In November 2016, under direct investment, residents’ external assets and the corresponding liabilities rose by 131 million euros and 156 million euros respectively, without any remarkable transactions.

In the January-November 2016 period, residents’ assets from direct investment abroad declined by 758 million euros.

At the end of November 2016, Greece’s reserve assets stood at 6.5 billion euros, compared with 5.2 billion at end-November 2015.