Monthly developments in August 2003 and revisions from 2000 up to July 2003
Seasonally adjusted current account in surplus in August
The seasonally adjusted current account of the euro area showed a surplus of EUR 2.8 billion in August 2003 (EUR 5.0 billion in
non-seasonally adjusted terms). This reflected surpluses in both goods (EUR 10.2 billion) and services (EUR 1.2 billion) that
were partly offset by deficits in income (EUR 2.8 billion) and current transfers (EUR 5.7 billion).
Compared with the revised data for July, the seasonally adjusted current account surplus rose by EUR 1.5 billion, mainly as a
result of a reduction in the income deficit by EUR 1.9 billion. Other sub-items remained broadly unchanged in the same period.
The 12-month cumulated surplus of the euro area current account amounted to EUR 36.1 billion, i.e. around 0.5% of GDP, as compared
with EUR 48.3 billion over the previous 12 months. This reduction resulted from higher deficits for income, in particular, and for
current transfers, as well as from a lower goods surplus (mainly triggered by lower exports). These developments were partly offset
by a rising surplus in services.
Euro area balance of payments: 12-month cumulated flows (Euro 12; EUR billions)
––– current account balance
------ net direct investment–– net portfolio investment
Net sales of euro area securities by non-residents
In the financial account, combined direct and portfolio investment showed a net outflow of EUR 39.6 billion in August 2003, which
mainly reflected net outflows in portfolio investment (EUR 37.9 billion).
The developments in portfolio investment were mainly due to net sales of euro area securities by non-residents of the euro area
(EUR 25.9 billion), as well as net purchases of foreign bonds and notes by euro area investors, amounting to EUR 12.4 billion.
The net sales by non-residents mostly concerned money market instruments, but also longer-term debt securities and equities.
Direct investment was close to balance. Investment in equity capital abroad by euro area residents was largely offset by net
inflows of "other capital" (mainly inter-company loans) into the euro area. Investment by non-residents in equity capital in
the euro area was subdued.
Other investment recorded net inflows of EUR 44.8 billion in August 2003, mainly as a result of a decrease of EUR 40.9 billion
in the net short-term external position of the monetary financial institution (MFI) sector for this item.
In the 12-month period up to August 2003, combined direct and portfolio investment recorded cumulated net inflows of EUR 25.7 billion,
as compared with EUR 77.3 billion a year earlier. This resulted mainly from lower net inflows in portfolio investment, stemming in
particular from a decrease in investment by non-residents in euro area equity securities, down to EUR 56.4 billion from EUR 161.8
billion. Cumulated direct investment net outflows were subdued over these two periods, although significant changes were recorded
in the components of this aggregate. In particular, a fall in investment in equity capital abroad was offset by lower direct
investment in the euro area, both in equity and "other capital".
In addition to the monthly data for August 2003, this press release incorporates additional breakdowns for the second quarter of
2003, as well as a revised set of balance of payments statistics from 2000 to July 2003.
Revisions have reduced the euro area current account deficit in 2001 by EUR 4.9 billion, to EUR 14.5 billion, and increased the
surplus in 2002 by EUR 7.4 billion, to EUR 67.0 billion. In both cases, these modifications mainly concerned the income item.
In the financial account, the main change consisted of a decrease in net outflows of other investment in 2002, by EUR 44.0 billion.
This was partly accounted for by the transactions of the non-MFI sector. In addition, an estimate of the increase of holdings of
euro banknotes by non-residents of the euro area, as compared with previous holdings of banknotes denominated in legacy currencies,
has been recorded under other investment liabilities of the Eurosystem. This adjustment was close to EUR 20 billion.
Additional information on the sharing of responsibilities with regard to 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 2003 will also be published in the November 2003 issue of the ECB Monthly Bulletin.
A detailed methodological note is available on the ECB's website. The next press release on euro area balance of payments
will be published on 26 November 2003.
Table 1: Euro area current account - seasonally adjusted data. Table 2: Monthly balance of payments of the euro area - non-seasonally adjusted data. Table 3: Quarterly balance of payments of the euro area.
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