ATHENS – Travel receipts more than doubled in 2021, totaling 10.6 billion euros, up 146.7% compared with the previous year, but remained at 58.6% of 2019 levels, the Bank of Greece (BoG) said on Monday.
Specifically, the central bank said that in December 2021, the current account deficit grew by 1.1 billion euros year‑on‑year and stood at 1.7 billion.
A rise in the deficit of the balance of goods is accounted for by a larger increase in imports than in exports. Exports grew by 24.1% at current prices (and dropped by 1.5% at constant prices), while imports rose by 44.7% at current prices (17.1% at constant prices). In particular, non‑oil exports of goods grew by 21.4% at current prices (10.4% at constant prices) and non‑oil imports of goods increased by 33.7% at current prices (25.4% at constant prices).
The surplus of the services balance doubled, reflecting an improvement in all subaccounts (travel, transport and other services balances). Non‑residents’ arrivals and the corresponding receipts rose substantially (by 294.0% and 406.9%, respectively). In particular, receipts and arrivals stood at 60% and 55%, respectively, of the December 2019 levels. The surplus of the transport balance grew mainly on the back of an improvement in the surplus of the sea transport balance.
The primary income account surplus fell year‑on‑year, due to lower interest, dividend and profit receipts. The secondary income account surplus increased year‑on‑year, mainly as a result of higher general government net receipts.
In 2021, the current account deficit decreased by 356.6 million euros year‑on‑year and stood at 10.6 billion.
A rise in the deficit of the balance of goods is due to the fact that imports increased more than exports. In particular, exports grew by 35.2% at current prices (12.7% at constant prices) and imports increased by 36.4% at current prices (13.6% at constant prices). Specifically, non‑oil exports and imports of goods grew by 26.9% and 27.7% respectively (20.2% and 24.2% at constant prices).
A rise in the services surplus is almost exclusively attributable to an improvement in the travel services balance; however, this was partly offset by a decline in the surplus of the transport balance. Non‑residents’ arrivals grew by 99.4% and the relevant receipts by 146.7% year‑on‑year, corresponding to 46.9% and 58.6% of the respective levels in 2019. Net transport receipts dropped by 6.0%.
The capital account surplus dropped year‑on‑year to stand at 431.5 million. In 2021, the capital account surplus rose substantially year‑on‑year and stood at 4.0 billion.
In December 2021, under direct investment, residents’ external assets increased by 287.2 million and residents’ external liabilities rose by 530.5 million.
Under portfolio investment, an increase in residents’ external assets is due to a rise of 4.0 billion in residents’ holdings of foreign bonds and Treasury bills.
Under direct investment, residents’ external assets increased by 992.9 million and residents’ external liabilities, which represent non‑residents’ direct investment in Greece, rose by 5.1 billion.
Under portfolio investment, an increase in residents’ external assets is mainly attributable to a rise of 24.2 billion.
At the end of 2021, Greece’s reserve assets stood at 12.8 billion euros.