Macro roundup: Current troubles

Balance of payments; budget execution; building activity

Greek balance of payments numbers for November showed the country continuing its march towards its worse full-year current account deficit since 2011, while the Finance Ministry’s preliminary budget execution data for December gave an indication of the fiscal cost of the pandemic. Meanwhile, building activity — which has been strong for most of 2020 despite the pandemic — recorded a drop in October.

Data summary:

  • The current account deficit in November was 1.26 billion euros, which was a 127 million-euro improvement on the same month of 2019, but brought the cumulative deficit for the first 11 months of 2020 to 10.5 billion euros after the implosion of tourism earlier in the year. The deficit for the first 11 months of 2019 was 2.15 billion euros.

  • The central government’s primary budget deficit — which doesn’t include debt service costs — came to 18.2 billion euros in 2020, compared with a surplus of 5 billion euros the year before. Revenue fell by 7.7 billion euros from the previous year, while spending increased by 14.9 billion euros.

  • Building activity in October, as measured by the number of permits issued, fell by 4.9 percent compared with the same month of 2019. For January-October, activity increased 13.1 percent compared with a year earlier.


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Next week’s key data

Monday:
  • Third-quarter non-financial accounts of institutional sectors (Elstat)

Thursday:
  • January economic sentiment (European Commission)

Friday:
  • December bank lending and deposits (Bank of Greece)


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