Balance of payments statistics - quarterly data


Data extracted in July 2018.

Planned article update: October 2018.

Highlights

EU current account surplus was € 47.2 billion in the first quarter of 2018.

The surplus for trade in services amounted to € 40.3 bn in the first quarter of 2018.

Balances of current account, EU-28, main items as share of GDP, 2018Q1(%)
Source: Eurostat (bop_eu6_q)

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.

Full article

Current account

The EU-28 non-seasonally adjusted external current account recorded a surplus of EUR 47.2 billion (1.2 % of GDP) in the first quarter of 2018, up from a surplus of EUR 27.4 billion (0.7 % of GDP) in the first quarter of 2017, according to the estimates released by Eurostat.

Figure 1: Balances of current account, EU-28, main items as share of GDP, 2018Q1(%)
Source: Eurostat (bop_eu6_q)

In the first quarter of 2018 compared with the first quarter of 2017, based on non-seasonally adjusted data, the surplus of the goods account increased (EUR +20.8 bn compared with EUR +7.5 bn) as did the surplus of the services account (EUR +40.3 bn compared with EUR +37.1 bn). Surplus of the primary income account dropped (EUR +7.6 bn compared with EUR +9.7 bn), while the deficit of the secondary income account fell (EUR -21.4 bn compared with EUR -26.8 bn). In the capital account EU28 recorded deficit of EUR -1.6 bn, down from deficit of EUR -14.0 bn in the first quarter of 2017. For primary income there were growths and for services drops in values for both credits and debits, while for goods in the first quarter of 2018 compared with the first quarter of 2017, there was increase in the value of credit transactions, while there was decrease in value of debit transactions.

Table 1: Main items of the current and capital account, EU-28, 2018Q1 (EUR 1 000 million)
Source: Eurostat (bop_eu6_q)


Table 2: Trade in services with the rest of the world, EU-28, 2018Q1 (EUR 1 000 million)
Source: Eurostat (bop_eu6_q)

The surplus recorded in the services account (EUR +40.3 bn euro) was mainly the result of surpluses in telecommunications, computer & information services (EUR +18.8 bn), financial services (EUR +8.7 bn), transport (EUR +7.2 bn), other business services, which includes research and development, professional, management consulting, technical, trade-related and other business services (EUR +6.1 bn), insurance services (EUR +3.7 bn), travel (EUR + 2.8 bn), manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others (EUR +1.6 bn) and construction services (EUR +1.5 bn) partly offset by a deficit in charges for the use of intellectual property (EUR -10.6 bn). The United Kingdom (mainly with financial services and other business services), France, Spain (both mainly with travel and other business services), Germany (mainly with charges for the use of the intellectual property and telecommunications, computer & information services) and Poland (mainly with travel) contributed in the biggest part to the surplus.

The primary income surplus (EUR +7.6 bn) was the result of the surpluses in direct investment income (EUR +24.4 bn) as well as in compensation of employees (EUR +4.2 bn), partially offset by deficit in portfolio investment income (EUR -21.5 bn).

Table 3: Primary income with the rest of the world, EU-28, 2018Q1 (EUR 1 000 million)
Source: Eurostat (bop_eu6_q)

Geographical breakdown of current account transactions

In the first quarter of 2018, the EU-28 external current account recorded a surplus with the United States (EUR +60.8 bn), Switzerland (EUR +21.7 bn), Brazil (EUR +7.9 bn), Canada (EUR +7.2 bn), Hong Kong (EUR +6.5 bn) and India (EUR +0.1 bn) and a deficit with China (EUR -30.2 bn), Russia (EUR -12.3 bn), Offshore financial centres [1] (EUR -5.5 bn) and Japan (EUR -2.8 bn). The EU-28 recorded highest surpluses in goods account with the United States (EUR +48.9 bn), offshore financial centres (EUR +14.5 bn) and Switzerland (EUR +6.9 bn), and significant deficits with China (-35.7 bn) and Russia (-16.6 bn). In services account the biggest surpluses took place with Switzerland (EUR +14.3 bn), Japan (EUR +3.8 bn) and China (+3.7 bn) and deficit with offshore financial centres (EUR -11.0 bn). The most substantial surpluses in primary income account occurred with the USA (EUR +9.2 bn) and Brazil (EUR +6.0 bn), while the high deficits with offshore financial centres (EUR -8.5 bn) and Japan (EUR -5.7 bn). In secondary income account deficits were recorded with all above analysed counterparts, except for Japan, Russia and Hong Kong.

Table 4: Balances with major economic partners, EU-28, 2018Q1 (EUR 1 000 million)
Source: Eurostat (bop_eu6_q)

Financial account

In the first quarter of 2018 net acquisition of financial assets by the EU-28 residents were higher than net incurrence of liabilities by EUR 70.2 bn. The EU-28 was the net investor of direct investment to rest of the world with the net outflow of EUR 3.5 bn. Direct investment assets held abroad by the EU-28 investors grew by EUR 52.1 bn, while direct investment liabilities of the EU-28 to the rest of the world decreased by EUR 18.0 bn. Direct investment assets grew for equity and investment fund shares (EUR +52.0) and reinvestment of earnings (EUR +30.0 bn) and fell for debt instruments (EUR -29.9 bn, while direct investment liabilities fell for equity and investment fund shares (EUR -93.0 bn) and increased for reinvestment of earnings (EUR +27.4 bn) and debt instruments (EUR +47.6 bn).

Table 5: Financial account transactions with the rest of the world, EU-28, 2018Q1 (EUR 1 000 million)
Source: Eurostat (bop_eu6_q)

Portfolio investment recorded a net outflow of EUR 58.7 bn. EU-28 investors invested EUR 157.0 bn in portfolio investment assets abroad, while portfolio investment liabilities of the EU-28 to the rest of the world increased by EUR 98.2 bn. Other investment recorded a net inflow of EUR 85.8 bn. EU-28 investors invested EUR 154.3 bn, while other investment liabilities of the EU-28 to the rest of the world increased by EUR 240.0 bn.

Figure 2: Current account as share of GDP, 2018Q1 (%)
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, fourteen recorded surpluses, eleven deficits, one balance and data for two were confidential in the first quarter of 2018. The highest surpluses were observed in Germany (EUR +71.5 bn), Austria (EUR +5.3 bn), Italy (EUR +4.8 bn), Czech Republic (EUR +2.3 bn) and Sweden (EUR +2.2 bn), while the largest deficits in the United Kingdom (EUR -23.1 bn), France (EUR -13.0 bn) and Greece (EUR -2.8 bn). In relation to GDP (size of the economy) the highest surpluses could be observed for Malta (14.0%), Germany (8.7%), Slovenia (8.1%) and Austria (5.7%) while the biggest deficits for Croatia (-16.9%) and Greece (-6.8%).

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

International investment position of Member States

In the first quarter of 2018, external liabilities - representing the negative net international investment position - were higher than assets, in nineteen EU Member States while external assets exceeded liabilities in six Member States (Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Malta, Austria and Sweden). Data for three Member States are either confidential or not yet available. Germany recorded the highest value of net IIP of EUR 1 997.0 bn, due to direct and other investment positions, being followed by Belgium (EUR 206.4 bn), mainly due to direct investment. Spain had the highest net international indebtedness among the EU Member States, at EUR 954.7 bn, due to its position in portfolio and other investments. Greece, Cyprus and Portugal recorded also very high indebtedness levels, which were above 100% of GDP, mainly due to other investment.

The detailed tables Microsoft Excel 2010 Logo.png are available here.

Data sources

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.

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Database

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


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.