Balance of payments statistics and International investment positions (bop_q)

Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union


Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Statistical presentation
4.Unit of measure
5. Reference Period
6. Institutional Mandate
7. Confidentiality
8. Release policy
9. Frequency of dissemination
10. Dissemination format
11. Accessibility of documentation
12. Quality management
13. Relevance
14. Accuracy
15. Timeliness and punctuality
16. Comparability
17. Coherence
18. Cost and Burden
19. Data revision
20. Statistical processing
21. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)



For any question on data and metadata, please contact: EUROPEAN STATISTICAL DATA SUPPORT

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1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union
1.2. Contact organisation unit C2: National and regional accounts production. Balance of payments
1.5. Contact mail address

2920 Luxembourg LUXEMBOURG


2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 13/06/2013
2.2. Metadata last posted 13/06/2013
2.3. Metadata last update 13/06/2013


3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

The Balance of Payments (BoP) systematically summarizes all economic transactions between the residents and the non-residents of a country or of a economic area during a given period.

The Balance of payments provides harmonized information on international transactions which are part of the current account (goods, services, income, current transfers), but also on transactions which fall in the capital and the financial account.

BoP is an important macro-economic indicator used to assess the position of an economy (of credit or debit) towards the external world. Data on International Trade in Services (ITS), a component of BoP current account, are used, alongside with data on Foreign Direct Investment (a component of BoP financial account), to monitor the external commercial performance of different economies. Balance of Payments data are used for calculation of indicators needed for monitoring of macroenomic imbalances such as share of main BoP and International Investment Position (IIP) items in GDP and export market shares calculated as the EU Member States' shares in total world exports. Out of BoP data, some indicators of EU market integration are also derived.

Data are in millions of Euro/ECU and in millions of national currency.

Several statistical adjustments are applied to the original data provided by the Member States. These are described in the International Trade in Services EU 1992-2001 - Compilation guide.

The International Monetary Fund Balance of Payments Manual (BPM5) classification is used for the compilation of the BoP.

The BoP data are collected through national surveys and administrative sources.

3.2. Classification system

The methodological framework followed in the compilation of the Balance of Payments is that defined in the fifth edition of the International Monetary Fund Balance of Payments Manual (BPM5) published in 1993.

Balance of Payments Manual fourth edition (BPM4), published in 1977, was the reference for the data produced by Countries and published by Eurostat till 1991. All the historical data originally supplied by Member States under BPM4 reference and classification have been converted by Eurostat to BPM5 classification. A correspondence table between the classification BMP4 and the classification BPM5 is available.

BPM5 has been recently revised and a new version of the manual (BPM6) was released in 2009. Data will be compiled according to the new manual starting from 2014.

3.3. Coverage - sector

Not applicable.

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

The balance of payments (BoP) is a statistical statement that systematically summarises, over a given period of time, all the transactions of an economy with the rest of the world. The balance of payments records all economic transactions undertaken between the residents and non-residents of a country during a given period. A transaction is defined in the BPM5 as an economic flow that reflects the creation, transformation, exchange, transfer, or extinction of economic value and involves changes in ownership of goods and/or financial assets, the provision of services, or the provision of labour and capital.

The concept of resident in the BPM5 is identical to that used in the 1993 System of National Accounts (SNA). The concept is not based on nationality or legal criteria. It is based on the notion of a centre of economic interest. An institutional unit is a resident unit when it has a centre of economic interest in the economic territory of a country for a period of at least one year.

The balance of payments provides information on the total value of credits (or exports) and debits (or imports) for each BoP item and on the net result or "balance" (credits minus debits) of the transactions with each partner.

BoP statistics are expressed in value terms. The trends observed in credits, debits and balances depend also on the volume of transactions, market prices and exchange rates. Variations in prices and exchange rates are often considerable, making it difficult to analyse value flows. Time series analysis or comparisons across countries outside the Euro area should take into account such variables.

The balance of payments accounts are constructed on a double-entry accounting system, so that every transaction is - in principle - recorded in twice, once as a debit, once as a credit. If for example, a country exports goods and receives foreign currency in return, it will record the export by a credit in the Current account (more specifically in the Goods account) and the increase in the asset (foreign currency) by a debit in the Financial account. Thus, given complete and accurate recording, the overall balance of payments (i.e. the combined current and capital account and the financial account) should sum to zero. In practice, however, this is seldom the case.

When the balance of payments is said to be in or out of balance, this does not refer to the balance of payments as a whole but simply to one of the sub-balances, that is, one item or a set of items. For instance, the goods account will be in deficit/surplus when the total value of imported goods is greater/smaller than the total value of exported goods.

The balance of payments is broken down into three broad sub-balances: the current account (a), the capital account (b) and the financial account (c).

a) Current account (BoP item 993 = sum of items 100 + 200 + 300 + 379)

The Current account shows the flows of goods, services, income and current transfers between resident and non-resident units

a.1 - Goods (BoP item 100)

BoP item Goods covers general merchandise, non-monetary gold and, since the implementation of the BPM5, goods for processing, repairs on goods and goods procured in ports by carriers.

The most important component, General merchandise, includes all movable goods whose ownership is transferred from a resident to a non-resident and vice versa.

When calculating the balance of payments, both exports and imports of Goods should be valued free-on-board (f.o.b.). When a cost-insurance-freight (c.i.f.) valuation is provided, freight and insurance components have to be estimated separately and eliminated from the trade figures to arrive at a f.o.b. valuation. These components are then recorded in the services account.

a.2 - Services (BoP item 200 = sum of items 205 +236 + 981)

Services are the second major category of the current account. In the production of data on International Trade in Services the references are the IMF's BPM5 and the United Nations' Manual on Statistics of International Trade in Services.

The main breakdown of services includes three sub-items: transportation, travel, and other services.

Transportation (BoP item 205) covers services provided by all modes of transportation - sea, air, and other, which includes space, rail, road, inland waterway and pipeline - that are performed by residents of one economy for those of another. The different types of services offered include transport of passengers, transport of freight and other supporting and auxiliary services (e.g., storage and warehousing).

The debit side of the item Travel (BoP item 236) consists of goods and services which are acquired by residents who stay abroad for less than one year. The credit side includes purchases of the same type made by foreign travellers on the national territory. This item contains two main categories of travel: business travel and personal travel (leisure, study, health-related purposes, etc.). Note that international transportation costs of the traveler to destination are recorded under the heading "transportation", but all movements within the country, including cruises, are entered under "travel".

Other services (BoP item 981) comprise those international services transactions not covered under transportation and travel (communication services, construction services, insurance services, financial services, computer and information services, royalties and license fees, other business services, personal, cultural and recreational services, and government services n.i.e.).

Further details on the classification of Services used in BoP are available on the attached file.

a.3 - Income (BoP item 300 = sum of items 310+320)

Income covers two types of transactions between residents and non-residents.

Compensation of employees (BoP item 310) records wages, salaries and other benefits, in cash or in kind, earned by individuals for work performed for economic units whose place of residence is different from their own (border workers, seasonal workers, employees of international organisations, etc.). BoP item Compensation of employees records money paid to non-resident workers or received from non-resident employers.

Investment income (BoP item 320) is income derived from ownership of external financial assets and liabilities and payable by residents of one economy to residents of another economy. It includes interest, dividends, remittances of branch profits, and direct investor's shares of the retained earnings of direct investment enterprises. In line with the related financial account, Investment income is classified in Direct investment, Portfolio investment, and Other investment income.

Further details on the breakdown of BoP item Investment income are available in the attached file.

a.4 - Current transfers (BoP item 379 = sum of items 380 + 390)

A transfer is a counterpart entry, required by the double-entry system used in BoP compilation, that offsets the provision of a non-financial, or financial, item by a resident to a nonresident (or vice versa) without a counterpart return of an item of economic value. Current transfers consist of all transfers, which are not capital (see below). Current transfers are broken down, according to the sector of the compiling economy, into two subcomponents: general government and other sectors.

General government (BoP item 380) covers contributions to the budget of the European Union institutions, cash transfers and gifts to/from other governments, e.t.c. Flows from the European Union institutions are the biggest sub-category of the General government transfers. See the  page related to BOP European Institutions for more details (see Links below).

Other sectors (BoP item 390) include workers' remittances, residents' contributions to foreign social security schemes, etc.

b) Capital account (BoP item 994)

This item covers all transactions that involve (a) the receipt or payment of capital transfers (debt forgiveness, migrant's transfers, transfers of ownership of fixed assets, transfers linked to, or conditional on, the acquisition or disposal of fixed assets, etc.) and (b) the acquisition/disposal of non-produced, non-financial assets, which includes transactions associated with tangible assets (e.g., land and subsoil assets) and transactions associated with intangible assets (e.g., patents, copyrights, trademarks, franchises, etc.).

c) Financial Account (BoP item 995)

The Financial account covers all transactions associated with changes of ownership in the foreign financial assets and liabilities of an economy. The financial account is broken down into five basic components: Direct investment (BoP item 500), Portfolio investment (BoP item 600), Financial derivatives (BoP item 910), Other investment (BoP item 700) and Official reserve assets (BoP item 802).

Further details on the breakdown of BoP Financial Account are available in the attached file.

Detailed data for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), with a breakdown by partner country and by kind of activity, are available in a separate table.

Note that for all items in the financial account increases in a country's financial assets held abroad and decreases in liabilities are shown as negative and decreases in assets and increases in liabilities are shown as positive. A minus sign therefore represents an increase in reserve assets and conversely, a plus sign represents a fall in reserve assets.

The balance of payments is constructed on a double-entry accounting system. Thus, the overall balance of payments should sum to zero. However, several factors (timing, valuation, data sources, etc.) cause imbalances in the information recorded. BoP item 998 - Net errors and omissions is used to balance the Current and Capital account with the Financial account. In principle, 993+ 994 + 995=0. If it is not the case, countries use 998 as balancing item (993+994+995 + 998 = 0).

Balance of Payments data are used for calculation of indicators needed for monitoring of macroenomic imbalances such as share of main BoP and International Investment Position (IIP) items in GDP and export market shares calculated as the EU Member States' shares in total world exports.

Separate table on "Main Balance of Payments and International Investment Position items as share of GDP" contains quarterly and annual values (in percentage of GDP), starting from, respectively, 1990Q1 and 1971, and also 3-year averages for sum of current and capital accounts, total current account and total financial account.

Separate table on "Export market shares" contains annual data on shares of all EU Member States in total world exports of goods and services and 5-year percentage changes of shares in total world exports. Time series start from 1994. Source of data for total world exports: International Monetary Fund (IMF), world balance of payments.

Out of BoP annual data, some indicators useful to measure EU market integration are also calculated and disseminated in the domain Structural Indicators:

  • Trade integration of goods as a % of GDP: Average of Imports and Exports of the item goods of the Balance of Payments divided by GDP. 
  • Trade integration of services as a % of GDP: Average of Imports and Exports of the item services of the Balance of Payments divided by GDP. 

If these indexes increase over time, then we can say that the country/zone is becoming more integrated within the international economy.

3.5. Statistical unit

Any individual, corporation or other institution that provides information on the transactions between the residents and non-residents of a country during a given period.

3.6. Statistical population

BoP statistical population includes all the economic transactions between residents and non residents.  The coverage of the statistical population assured by the reported transactions can be very different for different BoP items. Information on the transaction can be provided by individuals, corporations, or institutions.

3.7. Reference area

The data generally cover the European Union, Euro area, EU Member States, Croatia, Iceland, FYR of Macedonia, Turkey, Norway, USA and Japan. However, each monthly, quarterly and annual table with Balance of payments data has a specific geographical coverage. Details are summarised in the annex.

3.8. Coverage - Time

Generally, monthly BoP data (only for the aggregate Euro-area) are available starting from 1999M01. Quarterly BoP data are available starting from 1970Q1, while annual data from 1966 onwards.

However, each table with Balance of payments data has specific time coverage. More details can be found in the annex.

3.9. Base period

Not applicable


4. Unit of measure Top

Data are in millions of Euro/ECU and in millions of national currencies (including euro converted from former national currencies using the irrevocably fixed rate for all years).


5. Reference Period Top

BoP produces monthly, quarterly and annual data. Monthly BoP data are available (only for the aggregate Euro-area) starting from 1999M01. Quarterly BoP data are available starting from 1970Q1 and annual BoP starting from 1966. Detailed annual ITS data are available starting from 1985. See the annex for more detail on temporal coverage for the different geographical units.


6. Institutional Mandate Top
6.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements

For a long period, Member States have submitted to Eurostat BoP data following the arrangements contained in bilateral Gentleman's Agreements.

The Regulation no 184/2005 of The European Parliament and of the Council of 12 January 2005 on Community statistics concerning balance of payments, international trade in services and foreign direct investment (OJ L35/23 of 8/02/2005), became the applicable for EU data production as from reference year 2006 onwards. In addition, Commission Regulation (EC) No 601/2006, Commission Regulation (EC) No 602/2006 and Commission Regulation (EC) No 707/2009 have been published (OJ L106/7, L106/10 of 18/04/2006, L204/3 of 6/08/2009), respectively implementing and amending Regulation (EC)No 184/2005. Quality reports for the BoP domain are prepared in accordance with Commission Regulation (EC) No 1227/2010 of 20 December 2010 implementing Regulation (EC) No 184/2005 (OJ No L 283/3).

In the compilation of BoP, responsibility is shared between Eurostat and the ECB. Eurostat focuses on quarterly and annual aggregates of the EU, as well as on detailed ITS data also for the euro area, whereas the European Central Bank (ECB) is in charge of compiling and disseminating the euro area monthly and quarterly balance of payments statistics. A Memorandum of understanding (with a BoP Annex) has been signed between the two parties.  For more information on euro area Balance of Payments data, see the ECB website http://www.ecb.int/stats/external/html/index.en.html

The reference for National Accounts is the Regulation ESA95 of 25/6/96 published in the OJ L310 of the 30/11/1996.

In order to access all the legal information, please consult EUR-Lex website.

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

Not applicable


7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics (recital 24 and Article 20(4)) of 11 March 2009 (OJ L 87, p. 164), stipulates the need to establish common principles and guidelines ensuring the confidentiality of data used for the production of European statistics and the access to those confidential data with due account for technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

Not applicable.


8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

Release calendars exist for the BoP quarterly data and for the euro area balance of payments.

8.2. Release calendar access

For BoP quarterly data, the release calendar is disseminated on the website at:

http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/release_calendars/news_releases 

For euro area balance of payments, please refer to this link.

8.3. Release policy - user access

In line with the Community legal framework and the European Statistics Code of Practice Eurostat disseminates European statistics on Eurostat's website (see item 10 - 'Dissemination format') respecting professional independence and in an objective, professional and transparent manner in which all users are treated equitably. The detailed arrangements are governed by the Eurostat protocol on impartial access to Eurostat data for users.


9. Frequency of dissemination Top

BoP data: Monthly (only for the euro area), quarterly and annual

ITS data: Quarterly (14 items ) and annual (90 posts)


10. Dissemination format Top
10.1. Dissemination format - News release

News releases on-line.

For Eurostat's quarterly data, news releases are made available at 68 and 109 days.

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

Free pdf publications: Statistics in Focus

European Union International trade in services- Analytical aspects - data 1997-2005, collection Statistical books, Eurostat, 2007.

Remittance flows to and from the EU, data 2005-2006, collection Methodologies and Working Papers, Eurostat, 2007

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

Please consult free data on-line or refer to contact details.

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

Not applicable.

10.5. Dissemination format - other

Other than the text of the news release drafted by Eurostat, there are no official comments on the occasion of the release of the data. For further details see also:

http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat

Eurostat BoP data are also included in the following publications (last edition available):

OECD, (2007), OECD Statistics on International Trade in Services 1996-2005.


11. Accessibility of documentation Top
11.1. Documentation on methodology

The methodological framework followed in the compilation of the Balance of Payments is that defined in the fifth edition of the International Monetary Fund Balance of Payments Manual (BPM5).

A summary of the methodologies used for the compilation of BoP by members of the European Union can be found in the ECB publication "European Union balance of payments/international investment position statistical methods", May 2007).

11.2. Quality management - documentation

The ECB publishes an Annual Quality Report on Euro area Balance of Payments and international investment position statisticsThis report is the result of a Joint ECB-Eurostat Task Force on quality.

Eurostat prepares annual Quality Reports for the BoP domain in accordance with Commission Regulation (EC) No 1227/2010 of 20 December 2010 implementing Regulation (EC) No 184/2005 (OJ No L 283/3). It contains information on relevance, accuracy, timeliness, punctuality, accessibility, clarity, comparability and coherence.


12. Quality management Top
12.1. Quality assurance

Quality is assured by the application of concepts according to the fifth edition of IMF Balance of Payments Manual (BPM5) and thorough validation of the data delivered by countries.

12.2. Quality management - assessment

See Euro Area Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Statistics Quality Report and the Quality Profile on Trade integration of goods and services as a % of GDP


13. Relevance Top
13.1. Relevance - User Needs

Users need and balance of payments offers complete and consistent description of the external transactions of the EU, EU Member States and some other countries.

13.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

Not available.

13.3. Completeness

Data offer complete and consistent description of the components of the Balance of Payments and ITS components with the geographical breakdown and in accordance with  International Monetary Fund Balance of Payments Manual (BPM5) published in 1993.


14. Accuracy Top
14.1. Accuracy - overall

Euro area BoP:

When compiling the euro area aggregate at all frequencies, several checks are run at the ECB on the contributions received from all euro area Member States and from the ECB itself (derived from data of its Accounting Department). The aim of these checks is to detect inaccurate, inconsistent or implausible data. Outliers in time series or inconsistencies with other data sources are analysed. If a potential problem is detected, the country involved has to check and to change or confirm the figures; in the latter case, a further explanation on the underlying economic development is often delivered.

EU BoP:

Data transmitted by the Member States are checked by Eurostat for their consistency and plausibility. If any problems are found, Eurostat contacts the relevant Member State to check the figures or confirm changes made by Eurostat.  

Data on goods are generally based on Foreign Trade Statistics, which are often collected by customs' administrations. Data on services come from a variety of surveys where the data can be reported either by the banks or directly by the enterprises or the households. Data from national authorities are checked by Eurostat and the European Central Bank (ECB) as elaborated in Section 20.4 "Data Validation".

Asymmetries are another way of assessing the accuracy of statistics on flows. In that, values of trade in goods and services reported by European countries are compared with that of their partners within the EU. The resulting differences are evaluated. In the intra-EU trade of goods arrivals are about 5% less than dispatches. In the trade of services asymmetries are very close to zero.

At the European level, accuracy of GDP is regularly monitored in the framework of the GNI (Gross National Income) Committee and technical aspects are regularly analysed in several working groups and technical committees.

Main Balance of Payments and International Investments items and share of GDP, Trade integration of goods as a % of GDP and Trade integration of services as a % of GDP:

All indicators are associated with a high level of overall accuracy.

14.2. Sampling error

Not applicable.

14.3. Non-sampling error

Not applicable.


15. Timeliness and punctuality Top
15.1. Timeliness

BoP Monthly data for the euro area (source ECB) are released within 8 weeks after reference period.

BoP Quarterly data:

  • A first estimate for the EU aggregate and for the net flows of the current account and services is published 2 months and 8 days after the reference period.
  • The complete BoP quarterly dataset is published 3 months and 19 days after the reference period.

BoP Annual data are updated when the corresponding quarterly data are available.

Annual ITS data are released around 11-12 months after the reference period. Preliminary data, with limited detail for partners and posts, are released 4 - 5 months after the reference period.

15.2. Punctuality

Eurostat monitores closely punctuality of data delivery by the countries. Generally countries meet the delivery deadlines very well (2 months after the reference period for the first estimate of BoP quarterly data, 3 months after the reference period for the complete quarterly BoP dataset and 9 months after the reference period for the detailed ITS data).


16. Comparability Top
16.1. Comparability - geographical

The underlying methodological framework, which is defined in BPM5, ensures a high degree of comparability across countries. Regulation (EC) No. 184/2005 contains the questionnaires, and also all the details on the coding system, the format of the data, the deadlines for transmission. Each country compiles its BoP statistics using the data coming from a number of surveys and administrative sources.

Questionnaires and data requests with all details and explanations concerning requested item, geographical and activity breakdowns are included in Balance of Payments Vademecum.

The methodologies used by Member States when compiling the BoP are covered in the country chapters of the ECB's yearly publication 'European Union balance of payments/international investment position statistical methods'.

16.2. Comparability - over time

The data are generally considered highly comparable over time. The methodology is revised according to the revisions of the fifth edition of IMF's Balance of Payments Manual (BPM5). In some countries, methodological breaks can affect time series (normally on a temporary basis). Backward calculations of time series are provided to ensure full time coherence in a case of methodological changes.


17. Coherence Top
17.1. Coherence - cross domain

More information on methodology of national data can be found on the Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board of the IMF (International Monetary Fund).

For balance of payments of euro area and individual EU Member States, please refer to "European Union balance of payments/international investment position statistical methods".

BoP data can be related with some of the data published by National Accounts domain (in particular with the figures appearing inside the Rest of the World account) and with the aggregate figures on imports and exports of goods published by Foreign Trade Statistics. However, even though both Balance of Payments and Foreign Trade statistics provide data for the external trade in goods of a given country; the two data sets generally do not show the same figures. The two data sources have very different detail and serve different users' needs. Different methodologies are the main reason for the discrepancies between the two data sets. See the document Differences between Balance of Payments and Foreign trade Statistics for more details.

17.2. Coherence - internal

Not applicable


18. Cost and Burden Top

Not applicable.


19. Data revision Top
19.1. Data revision - policy

Monthly, quarterly and annual data are revised with the updated information transmitted by the Member States, according to the timetable specified in the BoP Vademecum. The new data received from a single country (or from the ECB) are loaded in Eurostat's database only when the dataset is updated for all the countries (monthly, quarterly or annually, according to the collection/table).

19.2. Data revision - practice

Quarterly data should be considered as provisional when first released. They are revised when more detailed information (by components and geographical breakdown) is transmitted by Member States three months after the reference quarter. Quarterly data are also revised when information for the next quarters is provided by Member States. Finally, quarterly data are also subject to revision when the annual data are published, in order to ensure consistency between quarterly and annual figures.


20. Statistical processing Top
20.1. Source data

Data published by Eurostat are compiled on the basis of data provided by Member States.

Each year or quarter, the national banks or the national statistical offices of the Member States provide Eurostat with data according to a set of questionnaires approved by all Member States and designed to fulfil a set of requirements. The Balance of Payments Vademecum is the reference text for national BoP compilers. This document contains the questionnaires, and also all the details on the coding system, the format of the data, the deadlines for transmission.  

Each country compiles its BoP statistics using the data coming from a number of surveys and administrative sources. Methods used for the collection and compilation of statistics differ among BOP items within a country, as well as among countries.

Data for BoP item Goods (100) are generally based on Foreign Trade Statistics, which are often collected by customs' administrations.

Data for BoP item Services (200) come from a variety of surveys where the data can be reported either by the banks or directly by the enterprises or the households.

Data for BoP items Income (300) are generally estimated using information coming from the banking sector and other financial institutions.

Data for BoP item Current Transfers (379) generally come from administrative sources.

Data for BoP Financial account (995) generally come from the banks and from other financial and non financial institutions.

20.2. Frequency of data collection

Not applicable.

20.3. Data collection

The banks have for a long time provided part of the information used for the compilation of  BoP through the so called "settlements systems" or International Transaction Reporting System (ITRS): banks had to report, generally to their National Central Bank, all the information related to cross-border settlements they had made on their own behalf or on behalf of their customers.  ITRS in the last years has been losing accuracy, because companies are using new techniques in managing their assets and,  moreover, because a new EU Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 2560/2001, 19 December 2001, on cross-border payments in Europe) introduced an exemption threshold for the banks' reporting on behalf of their customers.  To make up for this loss of information, some countries have already introduced new direct reporting systems and new surveys.

On this issue see the Final Report of the Technical Group Direct Reporting, with its Annex C dedicated to the possible ways to use Business Registers for the compilation of BoP.  Annex B to this report gives an idea of the mixed positions of EU Member States towards the use of Direct Reporting systems.

A summary of the sources used for the compilation of BoP by members of the European Union can be found in the ECB publication "European Union balance of payments/international investment position statistical methods", May 2007).

Information on BoP compilation systems in individual countries can also be found in each SDDS country page published in the IMF's Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board (http://dsbb.imf.org/Pages/SDDS/CtgCtyList)in the section "Balance of Payments".

20.4. Data validation

Eurostat submits all data received from the reporting countries to a number of checks. These checks verify the plausibility of the data (e.g. the development of time series), their internal consistency (aggregates should match the sum of the sub-items), their correspondence with data already disseminated by the same country on its NSI web-page or with data sent to IMF.

An example of the validation checks performed by Eurostat on the data received from each Member State is provided by the attached document Speeding up BoP Data Production. This document is related to the checks performed on quarterly data; annual data require a much lengthier set of controls, described in Balance of Payments Vademecum.

Data for the euro area, prior to their release to the public, are forwarded for validation to the European Central Bank. Further details on the validation checks applied to euro area BoP data can be found in the Euro Area Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Statistics Quality Report.

20.5. Data compilation

Time of recording: in line with the BPM5, recording is on a transaction basis ("accruals principle"), meaning that transactions have to be recorded when economic value is created, transformed, transferred or extinguished. The main criterion is change of ownership. The change may be legal or economic.

Valuation: in principle, market prices are used.

In the compilation of BoP, responsibility is shared between Eurostat and the ECB. A Memorandum of understanding (with a Bop Annex) has been signed between the two parties. Eurostat produces Euro area information only regarding the annual detail in trade in Services. All the other monthly and quarterly BoP data related to the Euro area available in Eurostat's database are produced by the ECB. However, within Services, data concerning the Euro area do not match up exactly with those released by the European Central Bank for the same period. The reason lies in a small methodological difference in the data transmitted to Eurostat and the ECB by one Member State. Eurostat is currently working to minimize these discrepancies in the very near future. See the Annex for more details on this issue.

In regard with the compilation of EU aggregates, Eurostat compiles the aggregate EU figures by consolidating the EU Member States' transactions vis-à-vis non-residents of the EU. The balance of payments of the EU institutions is added to the EU aggregate. Intra-EU transactions are not included in the calculation of the aggregate.  

This methodology, which is used to compile the BoP aggregates for the EU15, the EU25 and the EU27, has been agreed between Eurostat and ECB, which computes the euro area aggregate in a similar way. This methodology has the advantage of skipping the problem of the existing intra-EU asymmetries. More details on the issue of intra EU asymmetries are available in Eurostat Working Paper Asymmetries in the intra-EU balance of payments.

20.6. Adjustment

To produce the BOP figures for the EU aggregates, Eurostat has to apply several adjustments to the original data supplied by the Member States. They concern mainly financial account items and related income.

For details on the adjustments made by Eurostat on the trade in services data of each country, see the International Trade in Services EU 1992-2001 - Compilation guide.


21. Comment Top

Some details provided by the Member States on the financial account are not released, but may be available upon special request for analytical purposes.


Related metadata Top
bop_euins_esms - Balance of payments of the EU institutions


Annexes Top