The EU27 external current account recorded a surplus of €13.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011, compared with a deficit of €14.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010. This is the first current account surplus recorded for the EU27 since the third quarter of 2002, Eurostat said in its Wednesday’s data release.
In the fourth quarter of 2011, compared with the fourth quarter of 2010, there was a fall in the deficit of the goods account (-€17.0 billion compared with -€31.2 billion). The surplus of the services account rose (+€32.3 billion compared with +€25.9 billion), as did the surplus of the income account (+€17.8 billion compared with +€11.2 billion). The deficit of the current transfers account remained nearly stable (-€20.0 billion compared with -€20.3 billion).
The surplus recorded in the services account (+€32.3 billion) is mainly the result of surpluses in “other business services”, which includes miscellaneous business, professional and technical services (+€12.0 billion), computer & information services (+€8.3 billion), financial services (+€7.0 billion), transportation (+€6.0 billion) and construction services (+€2.6 billion), only partially offset by deficits in royalties & license fees (-€1.6 billion) and travel (-€0.7 billion).
In the fourth quarter of 2011, the EU27 external current account recorded a surplus with the USA (+€22.4 billion), Switzerland (+€17.2 billion), Brazil (+€7.5 billion), Hong Kong (+€5.5 billion), India (+€2.2 billion) and Canada (+€2.1 billion), and a deficit with China (-€29.2 billion), Russia (-€13.3 billion) and Japan (-€5.1 billion).
EU/euro area current account balance as % of GDP