Balance of payments in the first quarter of 2013 and the external position

The Central Bank of Iceland has published on its website the preliminary statistics for the balance of payments in the first quarter of 2013, and for the external position at the end of the quarter.

The current account balance was positive by 5.6 b.kr. during the quarter, as opposed to a negative balance of 15.1 b.kr. in the preceding quarter. The goods account showed a surplus of 25.6 b.kr., and the services account was positive by 0.6 b.kr. The balance on income, however, was negative by 20.7 b.kr. The current account balance excluding deposit institutions in winding-up proceedings was positive by 14.4 b.kr., as opposed to a deficit of 4.0 b.kr. in the preceding quarter.

As before, the income account deficit is due largely to the deposit institutions in winding-up proceedings. Calculated expenditures due to these institutions totalled 14.2 b.kr., while revenues were 5.3 b.kr. The negative effect of deposit institutions in winding-up proceedings on the balance on income totalled 8.9 b.kr. The balance on income excluding these institutions was negative by 11.9 b.kr.

External assets totalled 4,597 b.kr. at the end of the quarter, while external liabilities totalled 12,846 b.kr. Thus the net external position was negative by 8,249 b.kr., and net liabilities increased by 31 b.kr. quarter-on-quarter. Excluding the financial institutions undergoing winding-up proceedings, assets totalled 2,617 b.kr. and liabilities 3,071 b.kr., yielding a net balance of -453 b.kr. Net liabilities declined by 37 b.kr. between quarters.

Direct investment
Figures on direct investment for 2012 have been revised to align with the most recent information. In addition, the Central Bank has received new information on the redistribution of the assets and liabilities of a large international company, which took place in Q4/2012. As a result of these revisions, the previously estimated balance of Icelanders’ financial assets abroad at year-end 2012 was increased by 256 b.kr. The effect on non-residents direct financial assets in Iceland was a reduction of 298 b.kr. The year-end total was 1,298 b.kr. Overall, because of these changes, the net external position of the economy has improved by 554 b.kr. from the last published figures. 

Underlying external position
It should be noted that an analysis of the underlying external position of the Icelandic economy will be published on the Central Bank of Iceland website today. See: Press release no. 18/2013 

See the full press release here: BoP in the first quarter of 2013 and the external position (pdf)

No. 17/2013
3 June 2013