EU CA deficit in Q4 2009 was 9.2 billion euro

EU CA deficit in Q4 2009 was 9.2 billion euro

The 27 states of the European Union had a collective current account (CA) deficit of 9.2 billion euro in the fourth quarter of 2009, compared with a deficit of 54.8 billion euro in Q4 2008 and a deficit of 23.1 billion euro in Q3 2009, EU statistical office Eurostat said on April 22 2010. In the fourth quarter of 2009, compared with the fourth quarter of 2008, the deficit of the goods account decreased (-9.5 billion euro compared with -41.9 billion euro), as did the deficit of the income account (-0.1 billion compared with -17.5 billion), according to Eurostat. The surplus of the services account fell (+19.1 billion compared with +23.4 billion). The deficit of the current transfers account remained nearly unchanged (-18.7 billion compared with -18.8 billion euro). Eurostat said that the surplus recorded in the services account (+19.1 billion euro) was mainly the result of surpluses in "other business services", which includes miscellaneous business, professional and technical services (+9.9 billion euro), financial services (+7.8 billion euro), computer and information services (+five billion euro) and transportation (+4.7 billion euro), partially offset by deficits in travel (-4.1 billion) and royalties and licence fees (-3.8 billion euro). In Q4 2009, the EU27 external current account recorded a surplus with the United States (+12.3 billion euro), Switzerland (+10 billion), Brazil (+3.6 billion), India (+2.4 billion), Hong Kong (+2.3 billion) and Canada (+2.1 billion), and a deficit with China (-29.8 billion), Russia (-10.3 billion) and Japan (-6.6 billion). Summing up its provisional data on the financial account, Eurostat said that in Q4 2009, the EU27 made direct investments abroad of 63.2 billion euro, compared with 50.8 billion in the same quarter of 2008, and foreign direct investors made investments in the EU27 of 80.5 billion euro, compared with disinvestment of 18.4 billion euro in the same quarter of 2008. Portfolio investments recorded a net inflow of 40.3 billion euro, compared with 316.4 billion euro in the fourth quarter of 2008. In a separate report, Eurostat said that in 2009, the government deficit and government debt of both the 16-member euro zone and the EU27 increased compared with 2008, while GDP fell. In the euro area, the government deficit to GDP ratio increased from two per cent in 2008 to 6.3 per cent in 2009, and in the EU27 from 2.3 per cent to 6.8 per cent. In the euro area the government debt to GDP ratio increased from 69.4 per cent at the end of 2008 to 78.7 per cent at the end of 2009, and in the EU27 from 61.6 per cent to 73.6 per cent. In 2009, the largest government deficits in percentage of GDP were recorded by Ireland (-14.3 per cent), Greece (-13.6 per cent), the United Kingdom (-11.5 per cent), Spain (-11.2 per cent), Portugal (-9.4 per cent), Latvia (-nine per cent), Lithuania (-8.9 per cent), France (-7.5 per cent) and Poland (-7.1 per cent). No member state registered a government surplus in 2009, Eurostat said. The lowest deficits were recorded by Sweden (-0.5 per cent), Luxembourg (-0.7 per cent) and Estonia (-1.7 per cent). "In all, 25 member states recorded a worsening in their government balance relative to GDP in 2009 compared with 2008, and two (Estonia and Malta) an improvement," Eurostat said. At the end of 2009, the lowest ratios of government debt to GDP were recorded in Estonia (7.2 per cent), Luxembourg (14.5 per cent), Bulgaria (14.8 per cent), Romania (23.7 per cent), Lithuania (29.3 per cent) and the Czech Republic (35.4 per cent). Twelve member states had government debt ratios higher than 60 per cent of GDP in 2009: Italy (115.8 per cent), Greece (115.1 per cent), Belgium (96.7 per cent), Hungary (78.3 per cent), France (77.6 per cent), Portugal (76.8 per cent), Germany (73.2 per cent), Malta (69.1 per cent), the United Kingdom (68.1 per cent), Austria (66.5 per cent), Ireland (64 per cent) and the Netherlands (60.9 per cent). In 2009, government expenditure in the euro area was equivalent to 50.7 per cent of GDP and government revenue to 44.4 per cent. The figures for the EU27 were 50.7 per cent and 44 per cent, respectively. In both zones, the government expenditure ratio increased between 2008 and 2009, while the government revenue ratio decreased. However, in regard to Greece, Eurostat said that it was "expressing a reservation on the quality of the data reported by Greece". This was because of "uncertainties on the surplus of social security funds for 2009, on the classification of some public entities and on the recording of off-market swaps." Following completion of the investigations that Eurostat was undertaking on these issues in co-operation with the Greek statistical authorities, "this could lead to a revision for the year 2009 of the order of 0.3 to 0.5 percentage points of GDP for the deficit and five to seven percentage points of GDP for the debt," Eurostat said.

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