ECONOMY

January-May capital inflows jump to 20.5 million euros

Capital inflows in the first five-month period of 2007 came to -20.5 billion, compared to -11.8 billion in the same period a year earlier, according to data released by the Bank of Greece yesterday. Of the total capital inflow, -15.9 billion accounted for the purchase of government bonds and the remaining -4.6 billion purchases of Greek firms’ shares traded on the Athens Exchange. The central bank’s data also showed that in the period under review, the current account deficit widened 16.5 percent year-on-year, to -14.28 billion. The trade deficit rose by 7.8 percent, to -15.79 billion, with imports increasing by 8.4 percent and exports moving higher by 7.3 percent. The expansion of the overall trade balance deficit by -1,146 million is primarily the result of an increase in the trade deficit, excluding oil and ships, by -840 million, and of higher net payments for ship purchases (-523 million). On the contrary, net payments for oil imports declined by -218 million. With regard to the trade balance, excluding ships and oil, revenues from exports rose by -338 million, or 7.4 percent, while payments for imports increased by -1.179 billion or 8.3 percent. The services surplus grew by -385 million, owing primarily to an increase in net revenues from transport services, and to a lesser extent to net travel receipts. Net payments for other services also grew. The income deficit swelled by -395 million, reflecting increased net interest, dividends and profit-taking. In the period January to May 2007, the capital transfer balance recorded a surplus of -2.276 billion, 825 million up year-on-year. This development is attributed almost exclusively to an increase in EU capital transfers to the general government sector. The overall transfers balance posted a surplus of -2.962 million, -53 million lower year-on-year. Direct investment recorded net outflows of -2.071 billion. Specifically, net inflows of non-residents’ funds for direct investment in Greece stood at -508 million, while net outflows of residents’ funds for direct investment abroad reached -2,579 million. During the same period, the net inflows in portfolio investment came to -13.972 billion, given that the inflow of non-residents’ funds for investment in Greece – mainly in Greek government bonds and shares of Greek firms, of -15.9 billion and -4.6 billion respectively – were considerably higher than outflows of residents’ funds for investment.