Greece's current account balance showed a surplus of 407 million euros in May, against a deficit of 299 million in the same month of 2014, for a deficit of 2.7 billion euros in the January-May period, up by 122 million euros compared with the corresponding period last year, the Bank of Greece said on Tuesday.

The central bank, in a report, attributed this improvement mostly to the improved balance of goods and services, which showed a surplus of 725 million euros in May, up by 636 million year-on-year. In particular, total receipts from exports of goods and services registered a small increase (1 pct) in May, but the import bill decreased considerably (13.7 pct), owing mainly to the lower oil import bill.

 
ADVERTISEMENThe central bank, in a report, attributed this improvement mostly to the improved balance of goods and services, which showed a surplus of 725 million euros in May, up by 636 million year-on-year. In particular, total receipts from exports of goods and services registered a small increase (1 pct) in May, but the import bill decreased considerably (13.7 pct), owing mainly to the lower oil import bill.

More specifically, the deficit of the balance of goods decreased by 476 million euros year-on-year, on account of the lower net oil import bill. The improvement in the oil balance, which was significant, is partly attributable to reduced oil imports by Hellenic Petroleum, due to a temporary shutdown of the Aspropyrgos refinery. Also, imports of goods excluding oil and ships rose by 5.2 pct, while the corresponding exports fell by 3.6 pct year-on-year, pushing up the deficit of the balance of goods excluding oil and ships. The surplus of the services balance improved by 159 million, on account of improvements primarily in the travel services balance and secondarily in the transport (sea and other transport) services balance. The surplus of the travel services balance increased by 124 million euros, mainly as a result of a 13.2 pct rise in non-residents' arrivals in May and a 17 pct hike in the corresponding receipts.

In the January-May 2015 period, the current account balance showed a deficit of 2.7 billion, up by 122 million euros year-on-year. This increase is mainly attributable to a deterioration in the primary and secondary income accounts. By contrast, the balance of goods showed an improvement, which more than offset a slight decline in the surplus of the services balance, resulting in an improvement in the overall balance of goods and services.

The deficit of the balance of goods decreased by 910 million euros, on account of lower net payments for purchases of ships and a lower net oil import bill. By contrast, the deficit of the balance of goods excluding oil and ships increased. It should be noted that receipts from exports of goods excluding oil and ships remained almost unchanged, while the corresponding import bill increased by 7.9 pct. The surplus of the services balance shrank to a small extent, as net transport and other services receipts registered a decline, which was only partly offset by a rise in net travel receipts. In the January-May 2015 period, total non-residentsʼ arrivals increased by 27.1 pct year-on-year, while the corresponding receipts grew by 15 pct.

In the January-May 2015 period, the surplus of the primary income account narrowed, mainly on account of higher net payments related to investment income (interest, dividends and profits) and lower net other primary income. Moreover, the secondary income account recorded a deficit that was higher than that in the same period of 2014.

In the January-May 2015 period, residentsʼ net assets from direct investment abroad rose by 108 million euros, while the corresponding liabilities that represent non-residentsʼ direct investment in Greece grew by 15 million. Under portfolio investment, a net decrease of 5.1 billion euros in residentsʼ external assets is mainly due to a drop of 11.0 billion in residentsʼ holdings of foreign bonds and Treasury bills, which was partly offset by a rise of 5.8 billion in residentsʼ investment in shares of foreign firms.

At the end of May 2015, Greece's reserve assets stood at 5.2 billion euros, compared with 5.0 billion at end-May 2014.

 
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In the January-May 2015 period, residentsʼ net assets from direct investment abroad rose by 108 million euros, while the corresponding liabilities that represent non-residentsʼ direct investment in Greece grew by 15 million. Under portfolio investment, a net decrease of 5.1 billion euros in residentsʼ external assets is mainly due to a drop of 11.0 billion in residentsʼ holdings of foreign bonds and Treasury bills, which was partly offset by a rise of 5.8 billion in residentsʼ investment in shares of foreign firms.

At the end of May 2015, Greece's reserve assets stood at 5.2 billion euros, compared with 5.0 billion at end-May 2014.