Jan.-Sept. C/A deficit widens

Greece’s current account deficit widened in September, year-on-year, mainly as a result of a rise in the oil deficit and, secondarily, due to a small decrease in the services surplus, the Bank of Greece said yesterday. The non-oil trade deficit remained virtually unchanged and a slight increase was recorded in the transfers surplus, offsetting small growth in the income account deficit. The rise in non-oil export receipts was fully offset by an increase in the non-oil import bill. Net transport receipts grew, as gross receipts increased considerably, while gross payments rose moderately. In the January-September period, as a result of a widening of the oil trade deficit and the income account deficit and a narrowing of the transfers surplus, the current account deficit grew by 475 million euros year-on-year, reaching 5,019 million euros. Over the same period, the services surplus grew, as the increase in net transport receipts more than offset the decrease in net travel receipts. The income account deficit widened by 518 million euros, mainly owing to increased net interest payments on Greek government bonds. Underlying the narrowing (by 348 million euros) of the transfers surplus was a reduction in net transfers from the EU to the government, which more than offset the growth of net transfers to the other sectors. However, the decline in net transfers from the EU has been reversed since June, the central bank said. In the nine months a net outflow of 671 million euros was observed in direct investment, mainly accounted for by residents’ direct investment abroad. Over the same period, a substantial net inflow of 11,320 million euros was recorded in portfolio investment, mainly in Greek government bonds. Finally, a net outflow of 8,681 million euros was recorded in other investments. At the end of August, Greece’s reserve assets stood at 5.0 billion euros.