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  • PRESS RELEASE

Euro area monthly balance of payments: September 2021

19 November 2021

  • Current account recorded €19 billion surplus in September 2021, up from €17 billion in previous month
  • Current account surplus amounted to €320 billion (2.7% of euro area GDP) in 12 months to September 2021, up from €172 billion (1.5%) one year earlier
  • In financial account, euro area residents’ net acquisitions of non-euro area portfolio investment securities totalled €969 billion and non-residents’ net acquisitions of euro area portfolio investment securities totalled €91 billion in 12 months to September 2021

Chart 1

Euro area current account balance

(EUR billions unless otherwise indicated; working day and seasonally adjusted data)

Source: ECB.

The current account of the euro area recorded a surplus of €19 billion in September 2021, an increase of €2 billion from the previous month (Chart 1 and Table 1). Surpluses were recorded for goods (€16 billion), services (€10 billion) and primary income (€7 billion). These were partly offset by a deficit for secondary income (€15 billion).

Table 1

Current account of the euro area

(EUR billions unless otherwise indicated; transactions; working day and seasonally adjusted data)

Source: ECB.

Note: Discrepancies between totals and their components may be due to rounding.

Data for the current account of the euro area

In the 12 months to September 2021, the current account recorded a surplus of €320 billion (2.7% of euro area GDP), compared with a surplus of €172 billion (1.5% of euro area GDP) in the 12 months to September 2020. This increase was mainly driven by a switch in the services balance from a deficit of €41 billion to a surplus of €88 billion and also by larger surpluses for goods (up from €322 billion to €350 billion) and primary income (up from €38 billion to €53 billion). These developments were partly offset by a larger deficit for secondary income (up from €147 billion to €170 billion).

Chart 2

Selected items of the euro area financial account

(EUR billions; 12-month cumulated data)

Source: ECB.

Notes: For assets, a positive (negative) number indicates net purchases (sales) of non-euro area instruments by euro area investors. For liabilities, a positive (negative) number indicates net sales (purchases) of euro area instruments by non-euro area investors.

In direct investment, euro area residents made net investments of €35 billion in non-euro area assets in the 12-month period to September 2021, following net disinvestments of €115 billion in the 12 months to September 2020 (Chart 2 and Table 2). Non-residents disinvested €42 billion in net terms from euro area assets in the 12-month period to September 2021, following net acquisitions of €12 billion in the 12 months to September 2020.

In portfolio investment, euro area residents’ net purchases of non-euro area equity increased to €516 billion in the 12 months to September 2021, up from €198 billion in the 12 months to September 2020. Over the same period, net purchases of non-euro area debt securities by euro area residents increased to €453 billion, up from €267 billion in the 12 months to September 2020. Non-residents’ net purchases of euro area equity increased to €372 billion in the 12 months to September 2021, up from €172 billion in the 12 months to September 2020. Over the same period, non-residents made net sales of euro area debt securities amounting to €281 billion, following net purchases of €204 billion in the 12 months to September 2020.

Table 2

Financial account of the euro area

(EUR billions unless otherwise indicated; transactions; non-working day and non-seasonally adjusted data)

Source: ECB.

Notes: Decreases in assets and liabilities are shown with a minus sign. Net financial derivatives are reported under assets. “MFIs” stands for monetary financial institutions. Discrepancies between totals and their components may be due to rounding.

Data for the financial account of the euro area

In other investment, euro area residents recorded net disposals of non-euro area assets amounting to €3 billion in the 12 months to September 2021 (following net acquisitions of €132 billion in the 12 months to September 2020), while their net incurrence of liabilities was €701 billion (following net disposals of €38 billion in the 12 months to September 2020).

Chart 3

Monetary presentation of the balance of payments

(EUR billions; 12-month cumulated data)

Source: ECB.

Notes: “MFI net external assets (enhanced)” incorporates an adjustment to the MFI net external assets (as reported in the consolidated MFI balance sheet items statistics) based on information on MFI long-term liabilities held by non-residents, available in b.o.p. statistics. B.o.p. transactions refer only to transactions of non-MFI residents of the euro area. Financial transactions are shown as liabilities net of assets. “Other” includes financial derivatives and statistical discrepancies.

The monetary presentation of the balance of payments (Chart 3) shows that the net external assets (enhanced) of euro area MFIs decreased by €186 billion in the 12-month period to September 2021. This decrease was mainly driven by euro area non-MFIs’ net outflows in portfolio investment debt and, to a lesser extent, in portfolio investment equity and direct investment. These developments were partly offset by the current and capital accounts surplus and by euro area non-MFIs’ net inflows in other investment and other flows.

In September 2021 the Eurosystem’s stock of reserve assets decreased to €1,002.4 billion, down from €1,009.4 billion in the previous month (Table 3). This decrease was mainly driven by negative price changes (€15.1 billion), which were only partly offset by positive exchange rate changes (€6.7 billion) and net acquisitions of assets (€1.5 billion).

Table 3

Reserve assets of the euro area

(EUR billions; amounts outstanding at the end of the period, flows during the period; non-working day and non-seasonally adjusted data)

Source: ECB.

Note: “Other reserve assets” comprises currency and deposits, securities, financial derivatives (net) and other claims.

Data for the reserve assets of the euro area

Data revisions

This press release incorporates revisions to the data for July and August 2021. These revisions did not significantly alter the figures previously published.

Next releases:

  • monthly balance of payments: 20 December 2021 (reference data up to October 2021)
  • quarterly balance of payments and international investment position: 11 January 2022 (reference data up to the third quarter of 2021)

For media queries, please contact Philippe Rispal, tel.: +49 69 1344 5482.

Notes

  • Current account data are always seasonally and working day-adjusted, unless otherwise indicated, whereas capital and financial account data are neither seasonally nor working day-adjusted.
  • Hyperlinks in this press release lead to data that may change with subsequent releases as a result of revisions.
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