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Statistical Press Release – Balance of payments - December 2020

Today, Banco de Portugal publishes statistics, in Tables A.16 and A.17 of the Statistical Bulletin and in BPstat, on balance of payments for December 2020.

Up to December 2020 the combined current and capital account balance stood at €256 million, compared with the surplus of €2591 million in the same period in 2019 (Chart 1).

The observed surplus in services, secondary income and capital accounts, up to December, overcame the deficit registered in goods and primary income accounts (Chart 2).

In 2020, the exports of goods and services reduced by 20.4% (10.0% in goods and 37.2% in services) and the imports decreased by 15.1% (13.3% in goods and 22.6% in services). In this period, the goods account deficit decreased by €4100 million when compared to the same period of 2019, reaching €12186 million. However, the services account surplus diminished by €9242 million, to €8603 million. This reduction was justified mainly by the significant decrease on the travel balance, by €8150 million.

In December, the exports and imports of goods and services showed reductions comparing to the same period of 2019, by 16.1% (reductions by 8.1% in goods and 29.1% in services) and 7.5% (reductions by 7.6% in goods and 7.0% in services), respectively. It stood out the reduction of the travel balance by €351 million, as a consequence of the decrease of 51.0% in exports and 46.5% in imports (Chart 3).

In 2020, the primary income deficit decreased by €2095 million, when compared with the previous year, reaching €3034 million. This decrease of the deficit was mainly caused by the decline in investment income payments to non-resident entities. The secondary income surplus decreased by €152 million, mostly as a result of the evolution of the current transfers, namely due to an increase of EU budget contributions. On the other hand, the capital account balance increased €862 million, when compared to the same period of the previous year, mainly due to an increase of the EU funds received.

Up to December 2020, the financial account balance saw a €780 million increase in net foreign assets in Portugal (Chart 4). This was mainly due to the contribution of portuguese banks, characterized by an increase in assets, as a result of the  investment in debt securities issued by member states of the Monetary Union and by a reduction in liabilities, through a decrease in deposits from non-residents and loan repayments vis-à-vis the European Investment Bank (EIB). In contrast, it was observed an increase in liabilities of Banco de Portugal vis-à-vis the Eurosystem and an investment of non-residents in securities issued by Portuguese companies. Simultaneously, to highlight the loans obtained by the General Government under the SURE instrument.

Next update: 17 Mar. 2021