ATHENS – The European Central Bank has purchased state bonds with a nominal value of 3.3 billion euros in the secondary bond market in the framework of the Public Sector Purchase Programme (PSPP), the Bank of Greece said on Thursday. In a report, the central bank said the country's current account balance showed a deficit of 3.5 billion euros in the first quarter of the year, down by 201 million euros.
The Bank of Greece said the deficit in the balance of goods fell because of an improvement in the balance of goods excluding fuel, while the fuel balance deteriorated. Exports of goods (excluding fuel) grew 4.5 pct in current prices and 5.0 pct in fixed prices, while imports fell by 2.5 pct in current prices and 2.0 pct in fixed prices. The decline in exports and imports of fuel reflects a sharp drop in oil prices. The balance of services showed a surplus, while the travel balance improved in the first quarter compared with the same period last year.