RTTNews - Thursday, data released by the European Central Bank showed that the current account of the euro area balance of payments showed a deficit of EUR 42.2 billion in the first quarter of 2009. The deficit came in higher than EUR 29.5 billion shortfall recorded for the fourth quarter, downwardly revised from the EUR 22 billion initially estimated.

The central bank report said the largest bilateral deficits were with the group of other countries, which are countries outside the European Union other than Canada, Japan, Switzerland and the United States; the European Union institutions, Japan and the United States. Meanwhile, the largest surpluses were with the United Kingdom and the countries that joined the European Union in 2004 and 2007.

The financial account revealed net inflows of EUR 141 billion, combining direct and portfolio investment. Net inflows in portfolio investment exceeded net outflows in direct investment.

The developments in direct investment mainly originated from net outflows to the United States, the United Kingdom and the group of other countries. Portfolio investment by euro area residents predominantly comprised net sales of foreign securities issued primarily in offshore financial centres, the United Kingdom and Japan, the central bank said.

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