Cur­rent ac­count sur­plus widens

Kathimerini English - - I N T E Rv I E W - SOTIRIS NIKAS

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 yes­ter­day 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.

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