ECONOMY

Current account surplus widens

The surplus in the current account balance showed a significant widening in the first nine months of the year against the same period in 2013, reflecting the increase in the economy’s competitiveness.

According to data released on Thursday by the Bank of Greece, this surplus amounted to 3.7 billion euros, or just over 2 percent of gross domestic product, against 2.4 billion euros last year, showing a rise of 56.3 percent.

The main factor behind that growth is the export of goods and services, and above all revenues from tourism, which grew by 1.2 billion euros year-on-year. There has also been a significant increase in foreign direct investment, by 210.2 percent, bringing it to 1.1 billion euros against 375 million euros last year, but it remains to be seen whether such a level can be sustained.

BoG figures showed a total surplus of 3.2 billion euros in commodities and services in January to September, against 1.4 billion in 2013. Total exports of goods and services posted an 8.5 percent increase, from 2.8 percent in the same period last year. Revenues from the export of goods climbed 4.2 percent, while collections from services expanded by 11.6 percent. This positive exports course constitutes a first sign of the results of reforms, according to economists, although it is clear that most of this growth is attributed to tourism.

Nevertheless the trade deficit grew 5.4 percent in the year to end-September from the same period in 2013, reaching 13.5 billion euros. Exports rose by 4.2 percent while imports added 4.7 percent to reach 31.1 billion euros. However this still trails the level of 31.7 billion euros recorded in the first nine months of 2012.