Greek current account deficit down in January

Greece’s current account deficit shrank by 271 million euros in January, down 500 million year-on-year, the Bank of Greece said on Thursday.

The central bank, in a monthly report, said that this improvement was attributable to an amelioration in the primary and the secondary income account. By contrast, the balance of goods and services deteriorated, as an increase in the deficit of the balance of goods offset a rise in the surplus of the services balance. More specifically, total exports of goods and services rose, but at the same time imports grew at a stronger pace.

The deficit of the balance of goods increased year-on-year, primarily on account of a rise in the deficit of the balance of goods excluding oil and ships and, secondarily, due to the higher net oil import bill. It should be noted that the increase in both exports and imports in January 2017 was mainly driven by developments in the oil balance. The large increase in the value of oil exports and imports is mainly due to a rise in international oil prices. Exports of goods excluding oil and ships grew by 4.3 pct at constant prices and the corresponding imports by 12.1 pct.

The surplus of the services balance expanded by 95 million euros year-on-year, mainly as a result of higher net (mostly sea) transport receipts, while net travel receipts declined. More specifically, the inbound flow of non-resident travellers decreased by 6.9 pct and the corresponding receipts by 2.4 pct.

In January 2017, the primary income account showed a surplus of 650 million euros, up by 509 million year-on-year. This development is entirely attributable to higher net receipts under other primary income, which includes taxes and subsidies on products and production.

In January 2017, the capital account showed a surplus of 40 million euros, down by 348 million year-on-year, due to a drop in net capital transfers from the EU to general government.

In January 2017, the combined current and capital account showed a deficit of 231 million euros, down by 153 million year-on-year.

Direct investments rose by 113 million euros without any remarkable transactions. At the end of January 2017, Greeceā€™s reserve assets stood at 6.4 billion euros, compared with 5.6 billion in January 2016.