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Balance of International Payments

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Current account balance of €12.7bn in Quarter 3 2020

Table 1.1 Balance of International Payments€ million
 Merchandise BalanceServices and Income BalanceCurrent Account BalanceCurrent Account Balance as % of GDP
Q3 201931,604-19,99511,60912.5
Q3 202036,820-24,11612,70512.8
Q1-Q3 201989,928-101,768-11,840-4.5
Q1-Q3 2020104,603-94,7939,8113.6

The Balance of Payments current account, a measure of Ireland’s economic flows with the rest of the world, showed a surplus of €12.7bn in the third quarter of 2020. Quarter on quarter increased merchandise exports and continued low imports of intellectual property have kept the account in surplus.

Current Account
Q2 201813.8390941460721
Q3 201812.9536795807672
Q4 2018-15.8463385447228
Q1 201910.7772509840293
Q2 2019-38.3864861688368
Q3 201912.452669962882
Q4 2019-30.7250927111529
Q1 2020-15.8430740827369
Q2 202014.1110049572984
Q3 202012.794781627022
MerchandiseServicesPrimary IncomeSecondary IncomeBalance on Current Account
Q2 201828.044-0.017-16.155-1.07610.795
Q3 201827.2581.279-16.675-0.84611.016
Q4 201825.418-18.214-19.753-0.808-13.357
Q1 201930.224-0.079-19.668-1.3249.153
Q2 201928.1-38.931-21.111-0.66-32.602
Q3 201931.6040.996-20.096-0.89511.609
Q4 201929.197-37.317-19.751-0.693-28.564
Q1 202034.409-28.156-19.728-1.081-14.557
Q2 202033.374-0.788-19.916-1.00811.663
Q3 202036.825.57-28.935-0.75112.705

Other points of note in the Quarter 3 2020 results are:

Current account (see Table 1.3)

  • Merchandise exports were €60,263m in the third quarter of 2020, an increase of €2,857m compared with the third quarter of 2019. Merchandise imports were €23,443m in the third quarter of 2020, a decrease of €2,359m over the same period in 2019.
  • Service exports at €53,858m decreased by €1,865m compared to the third quarter of 2019, mainly due to lower Transport and Tourism & Travel services exports (which decreased by €2,108m and €1,464m respectively).
  • Service imports at €48,288m were down €6,439m over the same period in 2019, mainly due to lower Tourism & Travel and Royalty services imports (which decreased by €1,923m and €5,234m respectively).
  • Ireland’s trade balance at €42,391m, all goods and services exports less all goods and services imports, increased by €9,791m in the third quarter of 2020 over the same period in 2019.
  • Investment income earned abroad at €22,195m, decreased by €5,919m compared with one year earlier while investment income payable to foreign investors at €51,400m increased by €2,937m. The overall income balance for the quarter at -€29,686m decreased by €8,695m compared with the same period in 2019.
Direct InvestmentPortfolio InvestmentOther InvestmentReserve AssetsBalance on Financial Account
Q2 201811.434-16.04119.7840.00515.181
Q3 201815.2068.493-15.7380.2098.17
Q4 2018-21.60525.783-62.6690.578-57.913
Q1 20196.12110.265-5.0960.00211.291
Q2 2019-56.32-9.9369.380.121-56.754
Q3 2019-5.398-6.61716.6850.1254.795
Q4 2019-31.7135.461-29.5740.181-25.641
Q1 2020-14.702-83.13773.5620.138-24.138
Q2 2020-67.34882.309-17.0060.019-2.027
Q3 20203.49710.736-11.8880.6953.041

Financial account (see Tables 1.4 and 1.5)

  • Direct investment in Ireland decreased by €19,372m in the third quarter of 2020. This was due to decreased equity investment of €7,830m and other capital of €37,170m which were offset by increased reinvested earnings of €25,628m. Direct investment abroad decreased by €15,874m in the quarter, mainly due to decreased equity investment of €12,208m and other capital investment abroad of €7,390m.
  • Portfolio investment in foreign assets increased by €54,253m in the quarter. Investment in foreign equity increased by €30,372m while investment in foreign debt instruments increased by €23,881m. Portfolio investment in Ireland increased by €43,517m, mainly due to increased purchase of Irish equity of €33,896m and Irish debt of €9,621m.
  • Other investment assets and liabilities increased by €23,160m and €35,047m respectively in the third quarter of 2020 due to an increase in both IFSC enterprise assets and liabilities.
Table 1.2 Summary of Current, Capital and Financial Account Balances

Table 1.3 Current and Capital Accounts

Table 1.4 Financial Account

Table 1.5 Current, Capital and Financial Accounts showing IFSC and Non-IFSC activity

Table 1.6 Current and Capital Accounts showing geographical detail

Table 1.7 Financial Account showing geographical detail

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