Balance of payments statistics - quarterly data
- Data extracted in July 2017. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned update of the article: October 2017.
First quarter of 2017:
EU-28 current account surplus at EUR 37.8 billion
EUR 30.1 billion surplus for trade in services
This article presents quarterly statistics on balance of payments in the EU-28, the euro area and the Member States. Balance of payments, which is a summary of the transactions of a given economy with the rest of the world, comprises the current account, which covers international transactions in goods, services, income, and current transfers, the financial account, which deals with transactions involving financial claims on, or liabilities to, the rest of the world, including international purchases of securities, such as stocks and bonds as well as the capital account, which covers international capital transfers.
- 1 Main statistical findings
- 2 Data sources and availability
- 3 Context
- 4 See also
- 5 Further Eurostat information
- 6 External links
- 7 Notes
Main statistical findings
The EU-28 non-seasonally adjusted external current account recorded a surplus of EUR 37.8 billion (1.0 % of GDP) in the first quarter of 2017, down from a surplus of EUR 47.0 bn (1.3 % of GDP) in the first quarter of 2016, according to the estimates released by Eurostat.
In the first quarter of 2017 compared with the first quarter of 2016, based on non-seasonally adjusted data, the surplus of the goods account decreased (EUR +18.0 bn compared with EUR +28.6 bn). The surplus of the services account grew (EUR +30.1 bn compared with EUR +29.8 bn), as did the surplus of the primary income account (EUR +12.6 bn compared with EUR +10.2 bn). The deficit of the secondary income increased (EUR -22.9 bn compared with EUR -21.6 bn). In the capital account EU-28 recorded a deficit of EUR -18.5 bn, up from a deficit of EUR -4.7 bn in the first quarter of 2016.
The surplus recorded in the services account (EUR +30.1 bn euro) was mainly the result of surpluses in telecommunications, computer and information services (EUR +17.2 bn), financial services (EUR +8.2 bn), transport (EUR +4.6 bn), insurance services (EUR +4.3 bn), other business services, which includes research and development, professional, management consulting, technical, trade-related and other business services (EUR +3.4 bn), manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others (EUR +2.1 bn), construction services (EUR +1.8 bn) and maintenance and repair services (EUR +0.7 bn), partly offset by deficits and charges for the use of intellectual property (EUR -12.0 bn) and travel (EUR -0.6 bn). The United Kingdom (mainly with financial services and other business services), Spain (mainly with travel and telecommunications, computer and information services), France (mainly with charges for the use of intellectual property and transport), Germany (mainly with charges for the use of intellectual property and telecommunications, computer and information services) and Sweden (mainly with telecommunications, computer and information services) contributed most to the surplus.
The primary income surplus (EUR +12.6 bn) was the result of the surplus in direct investment income (EUR +21.6 bn) as well as in compensation of employees (EUR +5.0 bn), partially offset by a deficit in portfolio investment income (EUR -16.0 bn).
Geographical breakdown of current account transactions
In the first quarter of 2017, the EU-28 external current account recorded surpluses with the USA (EUR +40.5 bn), Switzerland (EUR +18.4 bn), Hong Kong (EUR +5.8 bn), Brazil (EUR +4.7 bn) and Canada (EUR +4.2 bn), but recorded deficits with China (EUR -28.1 bn), Russia (EUR -11.2 bn), Japan (EUR -1.5 bn), India (EUR -0.5 bn) and Offshore financial centres1  (EUR -0.1 bn). The EU-28 recorded highest surpluses in goods account with the USA (EUR +40.0 bn), offshore financial centres (EUR +13.6 bn) and Canada (EUR +3.5 bn), and significant deficits with China (-32.8 bn) and Russia (-16.1 bn). In services account the biggest surpluses took place with Switzerland (EUR +9.7 bn), Japan (EUR +4.2 bn) and Russia (EUR +3.4 bn) and the biggest deficit with offshore financial centres (EUR -10.1 bn). The most substantial surpluses in primary income account occurred with Switzerland (EUR +6.4 bn) and Brazil (EUR +3.4 bn), while the highest deficits were recorded with Japan (EUR -5.0 bn) and offshore financial centres (EUR -3.4 bn). In secondary income account deficits were recorded with all above analysed counterparts, except for Japan.
In the first quarter of 2017 net acquisition of financial assets by the EU-28 residents were higher than net incurrence of liabilities by EUR 19.3 bn. The EU-28 was the net direct investor to the rest of the world with the net outflow of EUR 37.0 bn. Direct investment assets held abroad by the EU-28 investors grew by EUR 113.1 bn, while direct investment liabilities of the EU-28 to the rest of the world increased by EUR 76.1 bn. Direct investment assets grew for equity and investment fund shares (EUR +51.8), reinvestment of earnings (EUR +32.4 bn) and debt instruments (EUR +29.0 bn), while direct investment liabilities increased for equity and investment fund shares (EUR +21.1 bn), reinvestment of earnings (EUR +28.0 bn) and debt instruments (EUR +27.1 bn).
Portfolio investment recorded a net outflow of EUR 6.1 bn. EU-28 investors invested EUR 129.8 bn in portfolio investment assets abroad, while portfolio investment liabilities of the EU-28 to the rest of the world increased by EUR 123.7 bn. Other investment recorded a net inflow of EUR 55.4 bn. EU-28 investors invested EUR 118.7 bn, while other investment liabilities of the EU-28 to the rest of the world grew by EUR 174.1 bn.
Current account of Member States (including intra-EU flows)
As concerns the total (intra-EU plus extra-EU) current account balances of the EU-28 Member States, based on non-seasonally adjusted data, seventeen recorded surpluses, nine recorded deficits and one recorded a balance in the first quarter of 2017 (data for one MS were confidential). The highest surpluses were observed in Germany (EUR +65.9 bn), the Netherlands (EUR +20.2 bn), Italy (EUR +5.5 bn), Sweden (EUR +5.0 bn) and Denmark (EUR +4.5 bn), while the largest deficits were recorded in France (EUR -20.3 bn), the United Kingdom (EUR -19.3 bn) and Greece (EUR -2.6 bn). In relation to GDP (size of the economy) the highest surpluses could be observed for the Netherlands (11.4% of GDP), Germany (8.3%) and the Czech Republic (8.2%), while the biggest deficits were recorded for Cyprus (-16.3%) and Croatia (-14.3%).
Trade in goods was the main account behind surpluses of Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and the Czech Republic, as well as being behind deficits of France, the United Kingdom, Greece, Cyprus and Romania. Services account decided the surpluses of Luxembourg, Austria, Poland and Portugal but the absolute highest surplus in services was recorded by the United Kingdom. For Denmark and Sweden surpluses were distributed among goods, services and primary income. In secondary income account Portugal, Bulgaria and Croatia recorded the highest surpluses, while Germany, France and the United Kingdom had the highest deficits.
International investment position of Member States
In the first quarter of 2017, external liabilities - representing the negative net international investment position - were higher than assets in seventeen EU Member States, while external assets exceeded liabilities in ten Member States (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom). Data for one MS were confidential. Germany recorded the highest value of net IIP of EUR 1 789.2 bn, due to direct and other investment positions, followed by the United Kingdom (EUR 485.0 bn, also due to direct and other investment) and the Netherlands (EUR 474.7 bn, due to direct investment). Spain had the highest net international indebtedness among the EU Member States, at EUR 972.7 bn, due to its position in portfolio and other investments. Greece, Cyprus and Portugal also recorded very high indebtedness levels, which were above 100% of GDP, mainly due to other investment.
The detailed tables are available here.
Data sources and availability
The methodological framework followed in the compilation of the Balance of Payments and International Investment Position is that defined in the sixth edition of the International Monetary Fund Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual (BPM6), published in 2009.
In the compilation of BOP, responsibility is shared between Eurostat and the ECB. Eurostat focuses on monthly BOP and quarterly and annual BOP, IIP, ITSS and FDI aggregates of the EU, as well as on detailed ITSS data also for the euro area, whereas the European Central Bank (ECB) is in charge of compiling and disseminating the euro area monthly and quarterly balance of payments, as well as quarterly international investment position statistics.
Monthly BoP data are available starting from January 1999. Quarterly BoP items are available from first quarter 1982, while quarterly IIP from fourth quarter 1993. Data are available for European Union, EU Member States, Euro Area, EFTA and candidate countries. Data are compiled and disseminated for transactions and positions of total economy vis-a-vis rest of the world and major economic counterparts (Switzerland, Russia, the USA, Canada, Brazil, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan and Offshore financial centres. Additionally, for financial account transactions and positions, as well as related income, data are available with sector breakdown.
In line with the agreed allocation of responsibility, the European Central Bank (ECB) is in charge of compiling and disseminating monthly and quarterly balance of payments statistics for the euro area, whereas the European Commission (Eurostat) focuses on quarterly and annual aggregates of the EU. The aggregates for the euro area and the EU are compiled consistently on the basis of Member States' transactions with residents of countries outside the euro area and the European Union respectively.
- Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual (BPM6)
- Foreign affiliates statistics - FATS
- Foreign direct investment statistics
- International trade in services
- Balance of payment statistics
- The EU in the world - economy and finance
Further Eurostat information
- Quality report on balance of payments (BOP), international trade in services (ITS) and foreign direct investment (FDI) statistics — Statistical Reports
- Quality report on balance of payments, international trade in services and foreign direct investments — 2014 data — Statistical Working Papers
- EU28 current account surplus €58.9 bn — News Release 106/2017 of 5/07/2017
- EU28 current account surplus €17.8 bn — News Release 30/2017 of 17/02/2017
- EU28 current account surplus €15.8 bn — News Release 13/2017 of 19/01/2017
- EU28 current account surplus €16.1 bn — News Release 259/2016 of 20/12/2016
- EU28 current account surplus €13.3 bn — News Release 229/2016 of 18/11/2016
- EU28 current account surplus €13.5 bn — News Release 202/2016 of 20/10/2016
- EU28 current account surplus €8.4 bn — News Release 179/2016 of 19/09/2016
- EU28 current account surplus €13.1 bn — News Release 161/2016 of 19/08/2016
- EU28 current account surplus €10.5 bn — News Release 146/2016 of 20/07/2016
- EU28 current account surplus €13.4 bn — News Release 122/2016 of 17/06/2016
- EU28 current account surplus €17.6 bn — News Release 100/2016 of 20/05/2016
- EU28 current account surplus €9.1 bn — News Release 74/2016 of 19/04/2016
- EU28 current account surplus €14.3 bn — News Release 55/2016 of 21/03/2016
- EU28 current account surplus €11.7 bn — News Release 35/2016 of 18/02/2016
- EU28 current account surplus €12.3 bn — News Release 13/2016 of 20/01/2016
- Balance of payments, see:
- Balance of payments - international transactions (BPM6) (bop_6)
Methodology / Metadata
- International Monetary Fund — Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual — 6th edition, 2009
- Balance of Payments Vademecum
- User guide on European statistics on international trade in goods — 2014 edition Publication, December 2014
- Manual on goods sent abroad for processing — 2014 edition Publication, September 2014
- Regulation (EC) No 184/2005 of 12 January 2005 on Community statistics concerning balance of payments, international trade in services and foreign direct investment.
- Regulation (EU) No 555/2012 of 22 June 2012 amending Regulation (EC) No 184/2005 on Community statistics concerning balance of payments, international trade in services and foreign direct investment, as regards the update of data requirements and definitions.
- Regulation (EU) No 2016/1013 of 8 June 2016 amending Regulation (EC) No 184/2005 on Community statistics concerning balance of payments, international trade in services and foreign direct investment.
- Main changes in the Sixth Edition of the IMF's Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual
- Offshore Financial Centres (OFC) is an aggregate which includes 40 countries. As examples, the aggregate contains European financial centres, such as Liechtenstein, Guernsey, Jersey, the Isle of Man, Andorra and Gibraltar; Central American OFC such as Panama and Caribbean islands like Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands; and Asian OFC such as Bahrain, Hong Kong, Singapore and Philippines.
- See footnote 1.