Balance of payments statistics - quarterly data
- Data extracted in October 2017. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned update of the article: January 2018.
Second quarter of 2017:
EU-28 current account surplus at EUR 23.9 billion
EUR 42.1 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 23.9 billion (0.6 % of GDP) in the second quarter of 2017, down from a surplus of EUR 43.5 bn (1.2 % of GDP) in the second quarter of 2016, according to the estimates released by Eurostat.
In the second quarter of 2017 compared with the second quarter of 2016, based on non-seasonally adjusted data, the surplus of the goods account decreased (EUR +41.0 bn compared with EUR +60.4 bn), while the surplus of the services account grew (EUR +42.1 bn compared with EUR +30.4 bn). The deficit of the primary income account increased (EUR -36.6 bn compared with EUR -31.4 bn), as did the deficit of the secondary income (EUR -22.6 bn compared with EUR -15.9 bn). In the capital account EU-28 recorded deficit of EUR -14.0 bn, up from deficit of EUR -4.0 bn in the second quarter of 2016.
The surplus recorded in the services account (EUR +42.1 bn euro) was mainly the result of surpluses in telecommunications, computer & information services (EUR +18.4 bn), financial services (EUR +10.8 bn), transport (EUR +9.2 bn), travel (EUR + 8.6 bn), insurance services (EUR +4.3 bn), manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others, construction services (both EUR +2.0 bn) and maintenance and repair services (EUR +0.8 bn) partly offset by a deficits and charges for the use of intellectual property (EUR -11.6 bn) and other business services, which includes research and development, professional, management consulting, technical, trade-related and other business services (EUR -2.7 bn). The United Kingdom (mainly with financial services and other business services), Spain (mainly with travel and other business services), France (mainly with charges for the use of intellectual property and transport), Germany (mainly with transport and telecommunications, computer & information services) and Sweden (mainly with telecommunications, computer & information services) contributed in the biggest part to the surplus.
The primary income deficit (EUR -36.6 bn) was the result of the deficit in portfolio investment income (EUR -68.1 bn), partially offset by surplus in direct investment income (EUR +27.0 bn) as well as in compensation of employees (EUR +4.3 bn).
Geographical breakdown of current account transactions
In the second quarter of 2017, the EU-28 external current account recorded a surplus with the USA (EUR +30.2 bn), Switzerland (EUR +22.0 bn), Hong Kong (EUR +6.9 bn), Brazil (EUR +5.9 bn) and Canada (EUR +5.3 bn), and a deficit with China (EUR -22.0 bn), Russia (EUR -6.6 bn), Japan (EUR -5.9 bn), Offshore financial centres  (EUR -3.0 bn) and India (EUR -0.5 bn).
The EU-28 recorded highest surpluses in goods account with the USA (EUR +39.2 bn), offshore financial centres (EUR +12.8 bn) and Switzerland (EUR +6.2 bn), and significant deficits with China (-29.3 bn) and Russia (-11.8 bn). In services account the biggest surpluses took place with Switzerland (EUR +13.3 bn, the USA (EUR +5.7 bn) and Russia (EUR +3.9 bn) and deficit with offshore financial centres (EUR -10.8 bn). The most substantial surpluses in primary income account occurred with China (EUR +4.9 bn) and Brazil (EUR +4.6 bn), while the highest deficits with the USA (EUR -9.2 bn) and Japan (EUR -8.3 bn). In secondary income account deficits were recorded with all above analysed counterparts, except for Japan and Hong Kong.
In the second quarter of 2017 net incurrence of liabilities by the EU-28 residents were higher than net acquisition of financial assets by EUR 151.0 bn. The EU-28 was the net direct investor to 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 42.2 bn, while direct investment liabilities of the EU-28 to the rest of the world increased by EUR 221.0 bn. Direct investment assets grew for equity and investment fund shares (EUR +29.7) and reinvestment of earnings (EUR +21.8 bn) and fell for debt instruments (EUR -9.3 bn), while direct investment liabilities increased for equity and investment fund shares (EUR +164.7 bn), reinvestment of earnings (EUR +22.6 bn) and debt instruments (EUR +33.8 bn).
Portfolio investment recorded a net outflow of EUR 35.1 bn. EU-28 investors invested EUR 164.2 bn in portfolio investment assets abroad, while portfolio investment liabilities of the EU-28 to the rest of the world increased by EUR 129.1 bn. Other investment recorded a net inflow of EUR 7.2 bn. EU-28 investors invested EUR 3.0 bn, while other investment liabilities of the EU-28 to the rest of the world grew by EUR 10.2 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, thirteen recorded surpluses, fourteen deficits and one balance in the second quarter of 2017. The highest surpluses were observed in Germany (EUR +55.7 bn), the Netherlands (EUR +15.4 bn), Italy (EUR +10.7 bn), Denmark (EUR +6.8 bn) and Spain (EUR +5.5 bn), while the largest deficits in the United Kingdom (EUR -23.3 bn), Romania (EUR -2.2 bn) and France (EUR -2.0 bn). In relation to GDP (size of the economy) the highest surpluses could be observed for the Malta (16.6% of GDP), Denmark (9.3%) and the Netherlands (8.4%), while the biggest deficits for the Romania (-5.2%) and the United Kingdom (-4.1%).
Trade in goods was the main account behind surpluses of Germany, the Netherlands and Italy, as well as behind deficits of France, the United Kingdom, Greece, Portugal and Romania. Services account decided about the surpluses of Spain, Croatia Luxembourg and Malta but the absolute highest surplus in services was recorded by the United Kingdom. For Denmark surpluses were distributed among goods, services and primary income, while for Sweden among goods and services. In secondary income account Romania, Croatia, Portugal and Bulgaria recorded highest surpluses, while Germany, France and the United Kingdom had the highest deficits.
International investment position of Member States
In the second 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 1 829.5 bn, due to direct and other investment positions, being followed by the Netherlands (EUR 502.6 bn, due to direct investment). Spain had the highest net international indebtedness among the EU Member States, at EUR 983.1 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 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
- EU-28 current account surplus €41.9 bn — News Release 148/2017 of 4/10/2017
- EU-28 current account surplus €58.9 bn — News Release 106/2017 of 5/07/2017
- EU-28 current account surplus €17.8 bn — News Release 30/2017 of 17/02/2017
- EU-28 current account surplus €15.8 bn — News Release 13/2017 of 19/01/2017
- EU-28 current account surplus €16.1 bn — News Release 259/2016 of 20/12/2016
- EU-28 current account surplus €13.3 bn — News Release 229/2016 of 18/11/2016
- EU-28 current account surplus €13.5 bn — News Release 202/2016 of 20/10/2016
- EU-28 current account surplus €8.4 bn — News Release 179/2016 of 19/09/2016
- EU-28 current account surplus €13.1 bn — News Release 161/2016 of 19/08/2016
- EU-28 current account surplus €10.5 bn — News Release 146/2016 of 20/07/2016
- EU-28 current account surplus €13.4 bn — News Release 122/2016 of 17/06/2016
- EU-28 current account surplus €17.6 bn — News Release 100/2016 of 20/05/2016
- EU-28 current account surplus €9.1 bn — News Release 74/2016 of 19/04/2016
- EU-28 current account surplus €14.3 bn — News Release 55/2016 of 21/03/2016
- EU-28 current account surplus €11.7 bn — News Release 35/2016 of 18/02/2016
- EU-28 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.