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Statistical Press Release – Balance of payments - March 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 March 2020.

Up to March 2020 the combined current and capital account balance stood at - €696 million, compared with -€365 million in the same period in 2019 (Chart 1).

These developments were due to the deficit of goods and primary income accounts, partially offset by the surplus of services, secondary income and capital accounts (Chart 2).

The goods account deficit increased by €86 million when compared to March 2019 and the services account surplus decreased €375 million. From this reduction, €233 million corresponded to the travel item, as a result of the negative evolution observed in March.   In this month, a deterioration of €351 million was observed in the travel balance, as a consequence of the decrease of 42.9% in exports and 41.5% in imports, when compared to March 2019 (Chart 3).

In the first three months of the year, exports of goods and services decreased by 3.9% (2.5% in goods and 7.0% in services) and imports reduced by 1.7% (1.5% in goods and 2.8% in services).

The primary income deficit rose by €142 million, when compared with the previous period, reaching -€573 million, due to the increase in investment income paid to non-residents. On the other hand, the secondary income surplus rose by €189 million as a result of the increase of transfers received from abroad and of the decrease on the financial contribution paid by Portugal to the European Union, compared to the same period one year earlier.

Up to March 2020, the financial account balance saw a €1208 million decrease in net foreign assets in Portugal (Chart 4). This was mostly due to an increase in liabilities, particularly the investment of non-residents in Portuguese public debt securities. In contrast, Banco de Portugal decreased liabilities vis-à-vis the Eurosystem, and the financial setor increased assets over non-resident entities, by mostly investing in deposits abroad.

Next update: 22 Jun. 2020