Monthly developments in August 2002 and revisions from 1999 up to the second quarter of 2002
The euro area current account showed a surplus of EUR 9.7 billion in August 2002, compared with a smaller surplus of
EUR 5.3 billion in August 2001. This development mainly resulted from an increase in the goods surplus (from EUR 7.4 billion
to EUR 11.7 billion), as a consequence of a fall in the import value. The services surplus showed a small increase (from EUR 1.0
billion to EUR 1.3 billion), while income and current transfers remained broadly unchanged.
Developments in the first eight months of 2002 show that the cumulated current account balance turned from a deficit of
EUR 23.6 billion in the same period last year into a surplus of EUR 29.2 billion. This development mainly stemmed from a
significant increase in the goods surplus (by EUR 45.8 billion). To a lesser extent, the small rise in the services surplus
(by EUR 3.0 billion) and the slight decreases in the deficits of income and of current transfers contributed to the turnaround.
The rise in the goods surplus resulted from a 5.8% decline of import values – partly reflecting a lower average price of oil
imports in this year – and a small increase (1.2%) in exports.
Looking at month-on-month developments on the basis of seasonally adjusted data, the value of goods exports increased slightly
in August (from EUR 86.8 billion to EUR 89.4 billion), while seasonally adjusted imports remained broadly unchanged.
In the financial account, combined direct and portfolio investment in the euro area registered net inflows of EUR 6.2 billion
in August 2002, owing to net inflows of both direct investment (EUR 1.7 billion) and portfolio investment (EUR 4.5 billion).
The net inflows of direct investment (EUR 1.7 billion) were the results of net inflows of "other capital (mostly inter-company loans)"
of EUR 5.2 billion, owing in particular to a disinvestment by euro area companies abroad (EUR 5.5 billion). Net outflows of equity
capital and reinvested earnings amounted to EUR 3.5 billion.
The net inflows of portfolio investment of EUR 4.5 billion in August stemmed from net inflows of investment in equities
(EUR 3.3 billion) and in money market instruments (EUR 9.3 billion). On the contrary, investment in bonds and notes registered
net outflows of EUR 8.1 billion, mainly owing to euro area investment in foreign securities (EUR 9.2 billion).
In the first eight months of 2002, combined direct and portfolio investment recorded net inflows of EUR 12.7 billion compared to
outflows of EUR 116.8 billion during the same period in 2001. Predominant factors in this turnaround were: a much smaller outflow
of "other capital (mostly inter-company loans)", which declined by EUR 56.2 billion (from 75.5 billion to 19.3 billion), and
substantially lower net purchases of foreign bonds and notes (falling from EUR 116.4 billion to EUR 55.9 billion). In parallel,
cross-border portfolio equity flows declined from EUR 244 billion in the first eight months of 2001 to EUR 116.5 billion over the
same period in 2002, which coincided with a sharp fall in equity prices.
In addition to the key items for August 2002, the present press release incorporates a revised and more detailed set of balance
of payments (b.o.p.) statistics for the first two quarters of 2002, as well as for annual data in 1999, 2000 and 2001.
Revisions in the second quarter of 2002 have turned the deficit on the current account (previously equal to EUR 1.8 billion) into a
EUR 5.2 billion surplus. The EUR 7.0 billion upward revision of the current account in 2002 Q2 was mainly caused by the goods item,
which increased by EUR 3.3 billion. Exports were revised upwards more than imports. Positive changes in the income deficit (EUR 2.3
billion) and the services surplus (EUR 1.7 billion) also contributed to the current account revisions.
As a consequence of the new information that became available, the current account deficit for 2001 has increased by EUR 11.5
billion. This has resulted in a more marked change from the 2001 deficit to the 2002 surplus.
Revisions in the financial account affected mainly portfolio investment, with additional net inflows of EUR 12.3 billion in the
first two quarters of 2002.
The revisions of both the current and the financial account have resulted in significant reductions of the errors and omissions
for the first half of 2002, from EUR 45.6 billion to EUR 25.3 billion. Most of this change refers to the month of April.
Additional information on the sharing of responsibilities regarding the compilation of the b.o.p. of the euro area and EU15
The European Central Bank and the European Commission (Eurostat) each disseminate a press release on the same day on the
quarterly balance of payments for the euro area and the EU15 ( Eurostat's Euro-indicators News Releases ). In line with the
agreed allocation of responsibilities, the European Central Bank compiles and disseminates monthly and quarterly balance of
payments statistics for the euro area, whereas the European Commission (Eurostat) focuses on quarterly and annual aggregates of
the EU15. The data comply with international standards, in particular those set out in the IMF Balance of Payments Manual (5th edition).
The aggregates for the euro area and the EU15 are compiled consistently on the basis of Member States' transactions with residents of
countries outside the euro area and the European Union respectively.
The results up
to August 2002 will also be published in the November 2002 issue of the ECB Monthly Bulletin.
A detailed methodological note is available on the ECB's website.
Table 1: Monthly balance of payments of the euro area for 2001 and 2002. Table 2: Euro area current account - seasonally adjusted data (Euro 12). Table 3: Quarterly balance of payments data of the euro area.
European Central Bank Press and Information Division
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