The FINANCIAL — The EU28 seasonally adjusted current account of the balance of payments recorded a surplus of €63.5 billion (1.6% of GDP) in the fourth quarter of 2017, down from a surplus of €67.4 billion (1.8% of GDP) in the third quarter of 2017 and from a surplus of €64.4 billion (1.7% of GDP) in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to estimates released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
In the fourth quarter of 2017 compared with the third quarter of 2017, based on seasonally adjusted data, the surplus of the goods account increased (+€40.9 bn compared to +€40.3 bn), while the surplus of the services account decreased (+€49.7 bn compared to +€50.1 bn). The primary income account turned from balance into a deficit (-€4.1 bn compared to €0.0 bn). The deficit of the secondary income account increased slightly (-€23.0 bn compared to -€22.9 bn), while the deficit of the capital account decreased (-€3.9 bn compared to -€6.4 bn).
In the fourth quarter of 2017, based on non-seasonally adjusted data, the EU28 recorded external current account surpluses with the USA (+€52.5 bn), Switzerland (+€14.8 bn), offshore financial centres (+€13.6 bn), Brazil (+€7.9 bn), Canada (+€7.3 bn), Hong Kong (+€6.1 bn) and India (+€0.9 bn). Deficits were registered with China (-€27.4 bn), Russia (-€6.5 bn) and Japan (-€0.9 bn).
Based on non-seasonally adjusted data, direct investment assets of the EU28 increased in the fourth quarter of 2017 by €73.5 bn, as did direct investment liabilities by €77.0 bn. As a result, the EU28 was a net recipient of direct investment in the fourth quarter of 2017 by €3.5 bn. Portfolio investment recorded a net outflow of €21.7 bn, and for other investment there was a net outflow of €98.6 bn.
Current account of Member States (including intra-EU flows)
As concerns the total (intra-EU plus extra-EU) current account balances of the EU28 Member States, based on available non-seasonally adjusted data, seventeen recorded surpluses, nine deficits and two were in balance in the fourth quarter of 2017. The highest surpluses were observed in Germany (+€75.4 bn), the Netherlands (+€20.9 bn), Italy (+€15.6 bn) and Ireland (+€14.9), and the largest deficits in the United Kingdom (-€17.1 bn), Greece (-€2.8 bn) and Romania (-€1.4 bn).