In 2019, under direct investment, residents’ net external assets increased by 381 million euros and their net external liabilities rose by 4.1 billion euros, according to the bank of Greece.
In 2019, the current account deficit halved year-on-year to 2.6 billion euros. This development is chiefly attributable to an increase in the surplus of the services balance and to a shift of the secondary income account from deficit to surplus. At the same time, the deficit of the primary income account also contracted.
These developments more than offset a widening in the deficit of the balance of goods, which resulted mainly from a rise in the non-oil deficit, while the oil deficit declined. Non-oil exports of goods increased (by 4.5 pct at current prices and by 4.9 pct at constant prices), outpacing the corresponding imports (which grew by 3.7 pct at both current prices and constant prices). However, total exports and imports remained almost unchanged due to a drop in oil exports and imports.
A rise in the services surplus is due to improvements in, primarily, the travel balance and, secondarily, the transport balance, while the deficit of the other services balance rose. Travel receipts and non-residents’ arrivals increased by 12.8 pct and 4.1 pct, respectively, year-on-year. Transport (mainly sea transport) receipts rose by 3 pct.
In December 2019, the current account deficit contracted by 974 million euros year-on-year to 540 million euros. This development mainly reflects improvements in the secondary income account, which came from an increase in general government receipts as a result of the second disbursement of SMP/ANFA profits from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) to the Greek government in the context of the medium-term debt relief measures.
In 2019, the combined current and capital account recorded a deficit of 1.9 billion euros, compared with a deficit of 4.9 billion euros in 2018.
Under portfolio investment, a net increase in residents’ external assets is due to a rise of 25 billion euros in residents’ holdings of foreign bonds and Treasury bills. The bulk of this increase is related to a loan securitisation by a systemic credit institution in September, combined with an equal increase in non-residents’ other investment in Greece. A net increase in their liabilities is mainly due to a rise of 1.7 billion euros in non-residents’ holdings of Greek government bonds and Treasury bills.