Balance of payments

The balance of payments records all economic transactions between residents and non-residents within a given time period and thus shows a country’s complex economics links with the rest of the world.

Brexit: adjustments of the balance of payments statistic

For the balance of payments statistics, aggregates are calculated based on the “fixed composition” concept.

Therefore new aggregates vis-à-vis other EU countries (“EU 27 – excluding UK) will be released from reference period February 2020 (release date April 2020). At that stage all back-data (monthly, quarterly and yearly data) will be recalculated.

Press release

Current results

German purchases and sales of foreign securities during Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic

In April 2020, transactions in foreign securities amounted to €1.4 trillion, having returned to a level considerably below the extraordinarily high activity of the previous month. The strong fluctuations are primarily attributable to trade in foreign shares and other equity. This could be due to the coronavirus pandemic: while lockdown and uncertainty surrounding the future made for particularly volatile markets in March, April already brought some easing.

Since as long ago as March 2019, German purchases and sales of foreign securities have been increasing significantly. Brexit is likely to have played a role here; in order to secure access to the EU market following Brexit, banks domiciled outside the European Union have moved their operations from London to financial centres in other EU countries, including Germany.

German balance of payments vis-à-vis the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is a very important economic partner for Germany. Each year, the two countries exchange goods services and income worth approximately €240 billion. The exchange of goods accounts for about 50% of this figure. Germany’s trade surplus with the United Kingdom amounts to around €45 billion per year. As an economic partner, it is second only to the United States. 

German balance of payments vis-à-vis the United States of America

The charts show how the current and financial account balances, including the contributions made by each component, have evolved vis-à-vis the United States since 2006 (annual data).