ATHENS — The Greek current account balance showed a deficit of 8.6 billion euros in the January-September period this year, up by 8.5 billion year-on-year, the Bank of Greece said in a report on Friday. The central bank, in a monthly report, attributed this development exclusively to a decline in the services’ surplus, which was partly offset by a 3.3 billion drop in the balance of goods deficit, as well as an improvement in the primary and secondary income accounts.
The decrease in the deficit of the balance of goods is accounted for by a larger decline in imports, in absolute terms, than in exports. Specifically, total exports of goods fell by 13.1 pct at current prices, but grew by 2.8 pct at constant prices. Total imports of goods decreased by 15.6 pct at current prices (-5.5 pct at constant prices). It should be noted that the drop in exports and imports at current prices is largely due to a decline in the value of oil exports and imports, respectively, as a result of lower international oil prices. The significant decrease in the services surplus is chiefly attributable to a deterioration in the travel services balance, as well as the other individual components. Travel receipts dropped by 78.2 pct and non-residents’ arrivals by 77.2 pct year-on-year, while transport receipts decreased by 16.2 pct.
In the nine-month period, under direct investment, residents’ external assets rose by 495 million and residents’ external liabilities, which represent non-residents’ direct investment in Greece, increased by 2.4 billion. Under portfolio investment, a net rise in residents’ external assets is due to an increase of 33 billion in residents’ holdings of foreign bonds and Treasury bills. A net decline in residents’ external liabilities is mainly due to a decrease of 8.2 billion euros in non-residents’ holdings of Greek government bonds and Treasury bills. Under other investment, a net rise in residents’ external assets reflects mainly an increase (by 2.5 billion) in the statistical adjustment associated with the issuance of banknotes. A net rise in residents’ liabilities reflects chiefly an increase of 41.9 billion in non-residents’ deposit and repo holdings in Greece (the TARGET account included), as well as a 6.2 billion rise in the outstanding debt to non-residents.
At the end of September 2020, Greece’s reserve assets stood at 9.6 billion euros, compared with 7.5 billion in September 2019, mainly on account of valuation changes, which is partially linked to the appreciation of the euro.
In September, the current account showed a deficit of 499 million euros, against a surplus of 914 million in September 2019, due to a significant deterioration in the services balance, which was only partly offset by the improved balance of goods and primary and secondary income accounts.