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Balance of payments, First quarter 2019

Increased surplus in the current account

Statistical news from Statistics Sweden 2019-06-04 9.30

The current account showed a surplus of SEK 63 billion in the first quarter of 2019. The surplus in the corresponding quarter last year was SEK 18 billion. Trade in goods and primary income recorded increased surplus and were the primary contributors to the increased surplus in the current account. Trade in services went from a deficit in the corresponding quarter last year to a surplus in the first quarter of 2019.

Trade in goods resulted in a surplus of SEK 46 billion, which is an increase of SEK 22 billion compared with the corresponding quarter last year. Exports of goods increased by SEK 41 billion compared with the corresponding quarter last year, while imports of goods increased by SEK 19 billion. Overall, this resulted in a strengthened trade in goods. Merchanting, which is included in trade in goods, contributed SEK 23 billion in surplus, which is an increase of SEK 3 billion compared with the corresponding quarter last year.

From deficit to surplus in trade in services

Trade in services recorded a surplus of SEK 8 billion, up by SEK 9 billion compared with the corresponding quarter last year.

Export of services amounted to SEK 166 billion, which is an increase of SEK 21 billion compared with the corresponding quarter last year. Imports of services amounted to SEK 158 billion, which is an increase of SEK 12 billion compared with the corresponding quarter the previous year.

Other business services, travel and charges for the use of intellectual property were the main types of services to contribute to increased exports. Among other business services, management/PR accounted for the largest increase. Among imports, the main contributors to the increase were other business services and charges for the use of intellectual property.

Increased surplus in primary income

Primary income recorded a surplus of just under SEK 42 billion in the first quarter. In the corresponding quarter last year, this item had a surplus of SEK 21 billion. Income on portfolio investments were the main contributor to the increased surplus in primary income. Compensation of employees resulted in a surplus of SEK 3 billion, while investment income resulted in a surplus of SEK 38 billion. Other primary income recorded a surplus of SEK 1 billion.

Income on direct investments contributed a surplus of SEK 18 billion, which is an increase of SEK 1 billion compared with the corresponding quarter last year.

Income on portfolio investments resulted in a surplus of SEK 21 billion, which can be compared with a surplus of SEK 1 billion in the corresponding quarter of the previous year. Dividends on shares and fund holdings resulted in a surplus of SEK 24 billion. This item showed a surplus of SEK 5 billion in the corresponding quarter in the previous year. The increased surplus was due to an increase in dividend payments on shares and fund holdings from abroad, while dividend payments on shares and fund holdings abroad decreased compared with the corresponding quarter last year. Return on debt securities showed a decreased deficit compared with the corresponding quarter in the previous year.

Secondary income resulted in a deficit of SEK 32 billion, which can be compared with a deficit of SEK 26 billion in the corresponding quarter of the previous year.

Capital inflow in the financial account

The financial account recorded just under SEK 81 billion in net capital inflow. Portfolio investments, financial derivatives and other investments resulted in capital inflow, while direct investment and reserve assets resulted in capital outflow.

Direct investments resulted in capital outflow of just over SEK 23 billion. Swedish direct investment abroad increased by SEK 87 billion, while foreign direct investment in Sweden increased by SEK 64 billion.

Portfolio investment transactions resulted in SEK 9 billion in capital inflow. Foreign investors increased their portfolio investments in Sweden by SEK 17 billion, while Swedish investors increased their portfolio investments abroad by SEK 8 billion.

Foreign investors increased their holdings in Swedish debt securities by SEK 23 billion. Holdings in short-term debt securities increased by SEK 29 billion, while long-term debt securities decreased by SEK 6 billion. The increase in short-term debt securities is explained by an increase of SEK 27 billion in borrowing abroad in debt securities issued in Swedish kronor. Foreign investors decreased their holdings in long-term debt securities issued in Swedish kronor by SEK 13 billion, and increased their holdings in long-term debt securities issued in foreign currency by SEK 7 billion. Foreign investors sold Swedish shares and fund holdings valued at SEK 6 billion net.

Swedish investors decreased their holdings in foreign debt securities by SEK 1 billion. Long-term debt securities issued in foreign currency decreased by SEK 18 billion, while long-term debt securities issued in Swedish kronor increased by SEK 17 billion. Holdings in foreign shares and funds increased by SEK 9 billion.

Other investments resulted in net capital inflow of SEK 103 billion. Swedish other investments abroad decreased by SEK 8 billion, while foreign other investments in Sweden increased by SEK 95 billion.

Financial derivatives resulted in just over SEK 2 billion in capital inflow. Reserve assets resulted in capital outflow of SEK 11 billion in the first quarter.

Net assets increased in the international investment position

At the end of the first quarter of 2019, Sweden’s international investment position recorded net external assets of SEK 793 billion. This is an increase compared with the previous quarter, when net assets amounted to SEK 384 billion.

Assets increased by SEK 997 billion during the quarter, while liabilities increased by SEK 588 billion. Portfolio investments were the part of the international investment position to contribute most to the increase in net external assets through a decreased net liability. Direct investments and reserve assets also contributed to the increase through increased net assets. Net assets in other investment and financial derivatives decreased.

Sweden’s largest net external assets are in reserve assets, direct investments and other investments. Sweden’s largest net liabilities are in debt securities in portfolio investments.

Differences between the balance of payments and the National Accounts

There are differences in exports and imports between the balance of payments and the National Accounts. This is in part due to reconciliation in the National Accounts, which are described in the National Accounts in-depth description. The balance of payments and the National Accounts work together in a long-term approach to coordinate statistics.

Revisions

The compilation of the balance of payments and the international investment position makes use of certain preliminary information. The statistics will be revised in line with more definitive figures in the updated statistics.

In connection with publication of the first quarter 2019, the time series for balance of payments and the international investment position was revised from the first quarter 2018.

The table Revisions by account item for the balance of payments 2018Q1-2018Q4 contains the scope of revisions in the balance of payments by account item.

The table Revisions by account item for the international investment position 2018Q1-2018Q4 contains the scope of revisions in the international investment position by assets/liabilities and account item.

Balance of Payments, SEK billion net
 20192018201820182017
 Q 1Q 4Q 1  
Current account 62.7 29.0 17.6 83.1 127.6
Trade in goods 45.6 16.9 23.5 74.8 92.9
Trade in services 7.7 12.4 ‑1.1 15.2 37.4
Primary income 41.5 24.3 21.0 73.7 68.0
Secondary income ‑32.2 ‑24.6 ‑25.8 ‑80.6 ‑70.6
Capital account ‑0.1 ‑0.3 ‑0.1 ‑0.6 ‑3.1
Financial account ‑80.5 114.5 ‑57.0 29.9 170.9
Direct investments 23.4 69.2 44.3 84.4 90.6
Portfolio investments ‑9.4 133.7 ‑61.1 ‑92.7 27.1
Financial derivatives ‑2.5 11.6 6.4 47.5 ‑68.9
Other investments ‑103.2 ‑90.5 ‑47.4 ‑6.4 119.1
Reserve assets 11.1 ‑9.5 0.6 ‑2.8 3.0

Balance of Payments, SEK billion net

Graph: Balance of Payments, SEK billion net

Statistical Database

More information is available in the Statistical Database

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Statistics Sweden, Foreign trade and balance of payments

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