Balance of payments statistics - quarterly data


Data extracted in January 2018. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned update of the article: April 2018.

Third quarter of 2017:
EU-28 current account surplus at EUR 81.9 billion
EUR 50.7 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.

Figure 1: Balances of current account, EU-28, main items as share of GDP (%)
Source: Eurostat (bop_eu6_q)
Table 1: Main items of the current and capital account, EU-28 (EUR 1 000 million)
Source: Eurostat
Table 2: Trade in services with the rest of the world, EU-28 (EUR 1 000 million)
Source: Eurostat
Table 3: Primary income with the rest of the world, EU-28 (EUR 1 000 million)
Source: Eurostat
Table 4: Balances with major economic partners, EU-28 (EUR 1 000 million)
Source: Eurostat
Table 5: Financial account transactions with the rest of the world, EU-28 (EUR 1 000 million)
Source: Eurostat

Main statistical findings

Current account

The EU-28 non-seasonally adjusted external current account recorded a surplus of EUR 81.9 billion (2.1 % of GDP) in the third quarter of 2017, up from a surplus of EUR 56.0 bn (1.5 % of GDP) in the third quarter of 2016, according to the estimates released by Eurostat.

In the third quarter of 2017 compared with the third quarter of 2016, based on non-seasonally adjusted data, the surplus of the goods account increased (EUR +42.9 bn compared with EUR +32.1 bn), as did the surpluses of the services account (EUR +50.7 bn compared with EUR +35.8 bn) and the primary income account (EUR +9.1 bn compared with EUR +7.1 bn). The deficit of the secondary income account grew (EUR -20.8 bn compared with EUR -19.0 bn). In the capital account EU-28 recorded deficit of EUR -5.0 bn, up from deficit of EUR -3.1 bn in the third quarter of 2016. For goods and primary income there were growths in values for both credits and debits, while for services in the third quarter of 2017 compared with the third quarter of 2016, there was an increase in the value of credit transactions (the highest value recorded for the EU-28 was EUR 224.6 bn), while there was a decrease in value of debit transactions.

The surplus recorded in the services account (EUR +50.7 bn euro) was mainly the result of surpluses in telecommunications, computer & information services (EUR +17.8 bn), financial services (EUR +11.3 bn), travel (EUR + 10.4 bn), transport (EUR +9.3 bn), other business services, which includes research and development, professional, management consulting, technical, trade-related and other business services (EUR +3.8 bn), insurance services (EUR +3.1 bn), manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others and construction services (both EUR +1.9 bn) partly offset by a deficit in charges for the use of intellectual property (EUR -9.6 bn). Substantial increases in values of credits took place especially for travel, transport and telecommunications, computer & information services. The United Kingdom (mainly with financial services and other business services), Spain (mainly with travel and telecommunications, computer & information services), France (mainly with charges for the use of intellectual property and transport), Sweden (mainly with telecommunications, computer & information services) and Italy (mainly with travel) contributed in the biggest part to the surplus.

The primary income surplus (EUR +9.1 bn) was the result of the surpluses in direct investment income (EUR +28.9 bn) as well as in compensation of employees (EUR +4.1 bn), partially offset by a deficit in portfolio investment income (EUR -23.7 bn).

Geographical breakdown of current account transactions

In the third quarter of 2017, the EU-28 external current account recorded a surplus with the United States (EUR +46.3 bn), Switzerland (EUR +18.2 bn), Brazil (EUR +8.3 bn), Canada (EUR +6.6 bn), Hong Kong (EUR +6.0 bn) and Offshore financial centres1 [1] (EUR +2.8 bn)), a deficit with China (EUR -28.6 bn), Japan (EUR -2.8 bn) and Russia (EUR -1.8 bn), and balance with India.

The EU-28 recorded highest surpluses in goods account with the United States (EUR +40.9 bn), offshore financial centres (EUR +14.7 bn) and Hong Kong (EUR +5.1 bn), and significant deficits with China (-36.3 bn) and Russia (-7.5 bn). In services account the biggest surpluses took place with Switzerland (EUR +12.6 bn), Russia (EUR +5.0 bn) and Japan (+3.7 bn) and deficit with offshore financial centres (EUR -10.7 bn). The most substantial surpluses in primary income account occurred with China (EUR +5.4 bn) and Brazil (EUR +4.9 bn), while the high deficit with Japan (EUR -6.5 bn). In secondary income account deficits were recorded with all above analysed counterparts, except for Japan and Hong Kong.

Financial account

In the third quarter of 2017 net acquisition of financial assets by the EU-28 residents were higher than net incurrence of liabilities by EUR 206.5 bn. The EU-28 was the net direct investor to the rest of the world with the net outflow of EUR 73.2 bn. Direct investment assets held abroad by the EU-28 investors dropped by EUR 87.6 bn, while direct investment liabilities of the EU-28 to the rest of the world decreased by EUR 160.8 bn. Direct investment assets fell for equity and investment fund shares (EUR -117.9) and debt instruments (EUR -3.5 bn and grew for reinvestment of earnings (EUR +33.8 bn), while direct investment liabilities decreased for equity and investment fund shares (EUR -200.8 bn) and increased for reinvestment of earnings (EUR +24.2 bn) and debt instruments (EUR +15.7 bn).

Portfolio investment recorded a net outflow of EUR 110.9 bn. EU-28 investors invested EUR 169.2 bn in portfolio investment assets abroad, while portfolio investment liabilities of the EU-28 to the rest of the world increased by EUR 58.2 bn. Other investment recorded a net outflow of EUR 2.3 bn. EU-28 investors invested EUR 83.6 bn, while other investment liabilities of the EU-28 to the rest of the world grew by EUR 81.4 bn.

Figure 2: Current account as share of GDP (%)
Source: Eurostat (bop_c6_q) - See country codes

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, twenty recorded surpluses, six deficits and two balances in the third quarter of 2017. The highest surpluses were observed in Germany (EUR +62.8 bn), the Netherlands (EUR +18.1 bn), Italy (EUR +16.4 bn), Ireland (EUR +14.5 bn) and Spain (EUR +7.4 bn), while the largest deficits in the United Kingdom (EUR -31.6 bn), Romania (EUR -1.5 bn) and Czech Republic (EUR -1.4 bn). In relation to GDP (size of the economy) the highest surpluses could be observed for Croatia (28.1% of GDP), Ireland (18.7%), Luxembourg (16.8%), Bulgaria (16.0%) and Malta (15.7%), while the biggest deficits were recorded for the United Kingdom (-5.6%) and Latvia (-4.2%).

Trade in goods was the main account behind surpluses of Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands, as well as behind deficits of France, Latvia, Romania and the United Kingdom. Services account decided about the surpluses of Bulgaria, Greece, Spain, Croatia, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland and Portugal but the absolute highest surplus in services was recorded by the United Kingdom. For Sweden surpluses were distributed among goods, services and primary income. In secondary income account Romania, Portugal, Bulgaria and Croatia recorded highest surpluses, while Germany, France and the United Kingdom had the highest deficits.

International investment position of Member States

In the third quarter of 2017, external liabilities - representing the negative net international investment position - were higher than assets, in twenty EU Member States while external assets exceeded liabilities in eight Member States (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria and Sweden). Germany recorded the highest value of net IIP of EUR 1 873.2 bn, due to direct and other investment positions, being followed by the Netherlands (EUR 459.5 bn) and Belgium (EUR 218.0 bn), both mainly due to direct investment. Spain had the highest net international indebtedness among the EU Member States, at EUR 957.1 bn, due to its position in portfolio and other investments. Ireland, Greece, Cyprus and Portugal recorded also very high indebtedness levels, which were above 100% of GDP, mainly due to other investment and, in the case of Ireland to portfolio investment.

The detailed tables Microsoft Excel 2010 Logo.png 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[2]. Additionally, for financial account transactions and positions, as well as related income, data are available with sector breakdown.

Context

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.

See also

Further Eurostat information

Publications

Database

Balance of payments - international transactions (BPM6) (bop_6)

Methodology / Metadata

Other information

  • 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.

External links

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. See footnote 1.