In a report released on Thursday, the Bank of Greece announced that the current account balance showed a surplus of €1.6 billion in September 2014, up by €652 million year-on-year.
According to the BoG, this development was the result of the improved balance of goods and services, which is mainly attributable to a significant rise in oil export receipts, as well as in travel and transport receipts.
The Bank of Greece also said that the trade deficit contracted by €223 million year-on-year, owing to the lower net import bill for oil and ships. By contrast, the trade deficit excluding oil and ships grew, despite a 9.4% rise in export receipts, since the corresponding import bill also increased at a faster rate (11.6%).
The surplus of the services balance widened by €425 million year-on-year, on account of improvements in the travel services balance and in the transport (mainly sea transport) services balance. In more detail, travel receipts increased by 10.9%, reflecting a 23.0% rise in non-residents’ arrivals.
In the January-September 2014 period, the current account balance showed a surplus of €3.8 billion, compared with €2.4 billion over the same period of 2013. In addition, the overall balance of goods and services recorded a surplus of €3.2 billion, compared with €1.4 billion in 2013. This development is attributable to the improved services balance. It should be noted that, over the January-September 2014 period, total exports of goods and services rose by 8.5% (compared with 2.8% over the same period in 2013). In more detail, receipts from exports of goods increased by 4.2%, while receipts from services rose by 11.6%.
The trade deficit grew by €698 million, on account of higher net payments for purchases of ships. The net oil import bill fell, as did the trade deficit excluding oil and ships, the contraction of which is attributable to a rise in export receipts, given that the corresponding import bill also increased, but at a slower pace.
The €2.5 billion rise in the surplus of the services balance is due to higher net receipts from travel, transport and “other” services. Specifically, travel spending by non-residents in Greece grew by 11.1% year-on-year, reflecting a 22.2% rise in non-residents’ arrivals.
Moreover, in the January-September 2014 period, the income account deficit fell by €430 million, mainly as a result of lower net interest payments. Finally, the current transfers surplus contracted by €854 million year-on-year, mainly as a result of lower general government transfer receipts from the EU, and stood at €2.8 billion.
The overall transfers balance (current transfers plus capital transfers) recorded a surplus of €4.6 billion in the January-September 2014 period, compared with €6.4 billion over the corresponding period in 2013.
In the January-September 2014 period, the combined current account and capital transfers balance (corresponding to the economy’s external financing requirements) showed a surplus of €5.5 billion, against €5.2 billion in the same period of 2013.