The EU27 seasonally adjusted current account of the balance of payments recorded a surplus of €90.9 billion (2.6% of GDP) in the fourth quarter of 2019, before COVID-19 containment measures began to be widely introduced by Member States, down from a surplus of €112.1 billion (3.2% of GDP) in the third quarter of 2019 and from a surplus of €93.4 billion (2.7% of GDP) in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to estimates released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
In this context Cyprus recorded a -€0.5 bn deficit in the current account balance and a €1.2 bn surplus in the trade in services balance. Greece recorded a -€2.6 bn deficit and €2.7 surplus respectively.
In the fourth quarter of 2019 compared with the third quarter of 2019, based on seasonally adjusted data, the surplus of the goods account increased (+€83.4 bn compared to +€79.1 bn), while the surplus of the services account dropped (+€12.1 bn compared to +€35.3 bn). Surplus of the primary income account fell (+€10.8 bn compared to +€11.8 bn), while the deficit of the secondary income account grew (-€15.5 bn compared to -€14.1 bn). The deficit of the capital account increased (-€8.6 bn compared to -€2.5 bn).
In the fourth quarter of 2019, based on non-seasonally adjusted data, the EU27 recorded external current account surpluses with the USA (+€40.7 bn), Switzerland (+€19.7 bn), the United Kingdom (+€19.6 bn), Brazil (+€9.7 bn), Canada (+€8.5 bn), Hong Kong (+€4.3 bn), Japan (+€2.2 bn) and India (+€1.0 bn). Deficits were registered with China (-€19.7 bn), offshore financial centres (-€12.0 bn) and Russia (-€2.0 bn).
Based on non-seasonally adjusted data, direct investment assets of the EU27 decreased in the fourth quarter of 2019 by €62.2 bn, while direct investment liabilities fell by €229.2 bn. As a result, the EU27 was a net direct investor to rest of the world in the fourth quarter of 2019 by €167.1 bn. Portfolio investment recorded a net outflow of €123.2 bn, while for other investment there was a net inflow of €27.4 bn.
As concerns the total (intra-EU plus extra-EU) current account balances of the EU27 Member States, based on available non-seasonally adjusted data, fifteen recorded surpluses, ten deficits and two were in balance in the fourth quarter of 2019. The highest surpluses were observed in Germany (+€68.6 bn), the Netherlands (+€30.6 bn), Italy (+€19.7 bn), France (+€8.5 bn) and Spain (+€8.1 bn), and the largest deficits in Ireland (-€28.4 bn), Greece (-€2.6 bn) and Romania (-€2.2 bn).