Quarterly sector accounts (nasq)

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


1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union
1.2. Contact organisation unit C1: National accounts methodology. Sector accounts. Financial indicators
1.5. Contact mail address 2920 Luxembourg LUXEMBOURG

2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 02/02/2011
2.2. Metadata last posted 02/02/2011
2.3. Metadata last update 23/01/2014

3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

The Quarterly Sector Accounts (QSA) are compiled in accordance with the European System of Accounts - ESA 1995 (Council Regulation 2223/96). The transmission of the QSA data by the Member States follows the Regulation (EC) N° 1161/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council (QSA regulation). The QSA encompass the non-financial accounts and provide a description of the different stages of the economic process: production, generation of income, distribution of income, redistribution of income, use of income and non-financial accumulation.

The compilation of QSA is the outcome of a close collaboration by Eurostat and the ECB, in cooperation with the national statistical institutes and national central banks. The ECB and Eurostat are publishing integrated non-financial and financial accounts, including financial balance sheets, for the euro area (the euro area accounts). Eurostat is also publishing the non-financial accounts for the EU.

The QSA record the economic flows of institutional sectors in order to illustrate their economic behaviour and show relations between them. They also provide a list of balancing items that have high analytical value in their own right: value added, operating surplus and mixed income, balance of primary incomes, disposable income, saving, net lending / net borrowing. All of them but net lending / net borrowing, can be expressed in gross or net terms, i.e. with and without consumption of fixed capital that accounts for the use and obsolescence of fixed assets.

In terms of institutional sectors, a broad distinction is made between the domestic economy (ESA 1995 classification code S.1) and the rest of the world (S.2). Within S.1, in turn, the following institutional sectors are distinguished:

- Non-financial Corporations (S.11)
- Financial Corporations (S.12)
- General Government (S.13)
- Households and Non-profit Institutions Serving Households (S.14 + S.15).

The full set of quarterly sector accounts is published for euro area / EU28 aggregates only. However, a subset of quarterly national key indicators is available at dedicated section (see "Quarterly data") as well as in the database (see table "Key indicators") for most of the 17 members of the European Economic Area (EEA) whose GDP is above 1% of the EU28 total. The other EEA members do not have to transmit the quarterly accounts of corporations and households to Eurostat.

Non-financial accounts are presented in the table "Non-financial transactions" (nasq_nf_tr). The other three tables (only the Euro area) include financial accounts, other flows and balance sheets.

QSA data are provided at current prices only. The key indicators (and their components) of households and non-financial corporations as published in the QSA news release are seasonally adjusted. Data are presented in millions of national currency, euro and as percentages.

3.2. Classification system

The standard followed is the European System of Accounts (ESA 95). The main categories are the institutional sectors and the transactions recorded between the sectors. The transactions are grouped into a sequence of accounts, namely: the production, generation, (re)distribution of income, use of income and capital accounts.


Institutional sectors


The institutional sectors combine institutional units with broadly similar characteristics and behaviour: households and non-profit institutions serving households (NPISHs), non-financial corporations, financial corporations, and the government. Transactions with non-residents and the financial claims of residents on non-residents, or vice versa, are recorded in the "rest of the world" account.


Classification of sectors:

  • S.1 Total economy
  • S.11 Non-financial corporations
  • S.12 Financial corporations
  • S.13 General government
  • S.14_15 Households and NPISH
  • S.2 Rest of the world


The households sector comprises all households and includes household firms. These cover sole proprietorships and most partnerships that do not have an independent legal status. Therefore the household sector also generates output and entrepreneurial income. In the European accounts, non-profit institutions serving households (NPISHs), such as charities and trade unions, are grouped with households. Their economic weight is relatively limited.


The non-financial corporations sector comprises all private and public corporate enterprises that produce goods or provide non-financial services to the market. Accordingly, the government sector excludes such public enterprises and comprises central, state (regional) and local government and social security funds. The financial corporations sector comprises all private and public entities engaged in financial intermediation such as monetary financial institutions (broadly equivalent to banks), investment funds, insurance corporations and pension funds.


Complete and consistent quarterly rest of the world accounts for the euro area and the EU have been compiled. This means that cross-border transactions and financial claims among euro area/EU Member States have been removed from the rest-of-the-world accounts and that, in particular, the asymmetries in the bilateral trade statistics have been eliminated. Consequently, imports and exports are much smaller than they would have been if a simple aggregation of the national data had been used, since about half of the external trade of the individual Member States is within the euro area/EU.


Transactions and sequence of accounts


European sector accounts record, in principle, every transaction between economic subjects during a certain period and show as well the opening and closing stocks of financial assets and liabilities in financial balance sheets. The transactions are grouped into various categories that have a distinct economic meaning, such as 'compensation of employees' (comprising wages and salaries, before taxes and social contributions are deducted, and social contributions paid by the employers). In turn, these categories of transactions are shown in a sequence of accounts, each of which covers a specific economic process. This ranges from production, income generation and income (re)distribution, through the use of income, for consumption and saving, and the investment, as shown in the capital account, to financial transactions such as borrowing and lending. Each non-financial transaction is recorded as an increase in the "resources" of a certain sector and an increase in the "uses" of another sector. For instance, the resources side of the "interest" transaction category records the amounts of interest receivable by the different sectors of the economy, whereas the uses side shows interest payable. For each type of transaction, total resources of all sectors and the rest of the world equal total uses. Each account leads to a meaningful balancing item, the value of which equals total resources minus total uses. Typically, such balancing items, such as GDP or net saving, are important economic indicators. They are carried over to the next account.


The production account records the output of goods and services as its main resource, to which taxes less subsidies on products are added to obtain total resources of an economy at market prices. The main use in the production account is "intermediate consumption" - such as the consumption of fuel within a production process. The difference between resources and uses is the balancing item "gross value added". This gross value added is then carried over as a resource to the subsequent set of accounts, the generation and distribution of income accounts, which eventually yield "disposable income" as a balancing item. This conceptual and numerical inter-linkage of the accounts ensures the consistent derivation of key economic indicators. The link between the non-financial accounts and the financial accounts is established by the balancing item "net lending/net borrowing", which can be derived both from the final non-financial account (capital account) and from the financial transactions account. "Net lending/net borrowing" is derived from the capital account by comparing "gross capital formation" (mainly investment in capital goods and software) plus the net acquisition of "non-produced, non-financial assets" (such as land or licences) with "gross saving" plus net "capital transfers" (such as an investment grant). If saving plus net capital transfers received exceeds non-financial investment, a sector has a surplus of funds and becomes a net lender to other sectors and/or the rest of the world. In the financial transactions account, this means that this sector acquires more financial assets than liabilities.


Classification of transactions:

  • Transactions in goods and services include the letter "P", e.g. P.1 Output, P.2 Intermediate consumption, P.51 Gross fixed capital formation etc.
  • Distributive transactions have the letter "D", e.g. D.1 Compensation of employees, D.2 Taxes on production and imports, D.41 Interest etc.
  • Financial transactions and stocks are coded with the letter "F", e.g. F.2 Currency and deposits, F.3 Securities other than shares etc.
  • Letter "B" is used for the balancing items of the non-financial accounts, e.g. B.1G Gross domestic product at market prices, B.6G Gross disposable income, B.9 Net lending (+) / net borrowing (-) etc. They are calculated as resources minus uses.
  • The balancing items of the financial accounts and balance sheets are calculated as assets minus liabilities and recorded as liabilities.

Coding of the flow dimension:

  • In the non-financial accounts, resources are coded as "received" and uses as "paid"
  • In the financial accounts, changes in financial assets are coded as "assets" and changes in financial liabilities as "liabilities".

Financial balance sheets and changes other than transactions


The financial balance sheets show the financial position of all sectors, broken down into categories of financial assets and liabilities (such as deposits, loans and shares) valued at market prices, at a particular point in time. The financial balance sheets change as a result of a) the accumulated flows recorded in the financial transactions account and b) other changes in assets. The latter category mainly reflects revaluations due to changes in the market prices of financial instruments and also covers other "volume" changes, such as debt cancellations. The consistent derivation of holding gains and losses by sector and by financial instrument allows for comprehensive analyses into the effects of these changes on the economic behaviour of the sectors.

3.3. Coverage - sector

Quarterly sector accounts cover all (institutional) sectors of the economy. For details, please refer to "Institutional sectors" in part "3.2 Classification system".

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

The concepts, definitions and classifications are based on European System of Accounts (ESA 95). The sector accounts provide, by institutional sector, a systematic description of the different stages of the economic process: production, generation of income, distribution of income, redistribution of income, use of income and financial and non-financial accumulation. The sector accounts also include balance sheets to describe the stocks of assets, liabilities and net worth at the beginning and the end of the accounting period. Transactions with non-residents are recorded in the "rest of the world" account. The sector accounts thus show the interactions among the different sectors of the resident economy and between the resident economy and the rest of the world.

The stocks of financial assets and outstanding liabilities are presented in the financial balance sheets. Balance sheets for non-financial assets, such as residential housing, machinery and land, are not yet available.

Key ratios, deemed meaningful for economic analysis are derived from the above transactions:

  • Gross saving rate of households (S.14_15). This is calculated as B8G/(B6G+D8rec-D8pay)*100
  • Gross investment rate of households (S.14_15): P51/(B6G+D8rec-D8pay)*100
  • Gross investment rate of non-financial corporations (S.11): P51/B1G*100
  • Gross profit share of non-financial corporations (S.11): B2G_B3G/B1G*100

With the following codes:

  • B8G for Gross saving
  • B6G for Gross disposable income
  • D8rec / D8pay as the adjustment for the change in net equity of households in pension funds reserves (receivable / payable)
  • P51 for Gross fixed capital formation
  • B1G for Gross value added
  • B2G_B3G for Gross operating surplus / mixed income.

In the above, all ratios are expressed in gross terms, i.e. before deduction of consumption of fixed capital.

The transactions are recorded on an accrual basis (i.e. not on a cash basis), that is, when economic value is created, transformed or extinguished.

3.5. Statistical unit

The elementary building block of ESA95 statistics is the institutional unit (ESA95, 2.12.), "an elementary economic decision-making centre characterised by uniformity of behaviour and decision-making autonomy in the exercise of its principal function". This can be, amongst others, a household, a corporation or a government agency.

3.6. Statistical population

Not relevant

3.7. Reference area

Euro area / EU28 (full set of quarterly sector accounts published) and members of the European Economic Area (subset of quarterly national key indicators published).

3.8. Coverage - Time

Time-series go back to the 1st quarter of 1999.

3.9. Base period

Not relevant.

4. Unit of measure Top

Data are presented in millions of national currency, Euro/ECU and as percentages.

5. Reference Period Top

The reference period is the quarter.

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

National Accounts are compiled in accordance with the European System of Accounts (ESA 1995) adopted in the form of a Council Regulation dated 25 June 1996, N° 2223/96 and originally published in the Official Journal L310 of the 30/11/1996. A consolidated version incorporating related legislation is available here.

Transmission of the QSA data by the Member States follows the Regulation (EC) N° 1161/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council (QSA regulation).

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing
Not relevant.

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

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.

8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

QSA data are released on a quarterly basis with a delay of four months after reference quarter.

8.2. Release calendar access

The date of data release is disseminated on the website.

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.

In line with this protocol and on a strictly regulated basis, the Quarterly Sector Accounts of the euro area and of the EU are sent for information to the European Central Bank (ECB) and to the European Commission Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN) under embargo the evening before official release of data.

9. Frequency of dissemination Top


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

News releases on-line.

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

Sector accounts dedicated website provides data, information on methodology and analysis.

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

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

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

Not available.

10.5. Dissemination format - other

The dedicated website offers analytical review of the published data.

11. Accessibility of documentation Top
11.1. Documentation on methodology

The general methodological framework is defined in the European System of Accounts - ESA 1995. A methodological overview can be found on the Sector Accounts dedicated website.

11.2. Quality management - documentation

Not available.

12. Quality management Top
12.1. Quality assurance

Quality is assured by strict application of ESA95 concepts and by thorough validation of the data delivered by countries.

12.2. Quality management - assessment

Not available.

13. Relevance Top
13.1. Relevance - User Needs

Not available.

13.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

Not available.

13.3. Completeness

Quarterly sector accounts offer complete and consistent description of the whole economy, broken down into main sectors.

14. Accuracy Top
14.1. Accuracy - overall

The overall accuracy is supported by ensuring that total uses and total resources are balanced at the level of individual transaction categories giving a coherent set of data for the total national economy and transactions with the rest of the world.

14.2. Sampling error

Not available.

14.3. Non-sampling error

Not available.

15. Timeliness and punctuality Top
15.1. Timeliness

The EU and EA aggregates are available 120 days after the end of the reference quarter.

15.2. Punctuality

Not available.

16. Comparability Top
16.1. Comparability - geographical

Comparability over time and over countries is ensured by application of fixed ESA95 concepts in all European countries and over time series starting from 1999.

16.2. Comparability - over time

See part 16.1 here above.

17. Coherence Top
17.1. Coherence - cross domain

The quarterly series of the euro area and EU28 aggregates are fully consistent with the annual accounts published in the table "Non-financial transactions" (nasa_nf_tr) of the domain "Annual sector accounts" (nasa).

The rest of the world accounts, as compiled by Member States, record transactions between the national economy and all non-resident units, including those in other EU Member States. To measure the external transactions of the euro area / EU28, it is necessary to remove cross-border flows within the area concerned. With this procedure, inconsistencies in country data, such as the so-called "asymmetries" are eliminated. As the elimination of intra-flows and asymmetries is a complex task, it has not been implemented yet by Eurostat in the other domains of national accounts. Therefore, European sector accounts are internally consistent but have discrepancies with other national accounts data.

17.2. Coherence - internal

European sector accounts are internally consistent. This is supported by the fact that the total uses and total resources are balanced at the level of individual transaction categories giving a coherent set of data for the total national economy and transactions with the rest of the world.

18. Cost and Burden Top

Not available.

19. Data revision Top
19.1. Data revision - policy

In this ESA domain there is no commonly fixed scheme for revising the accounts of the Member States.

Although the national accounts data by country are subject to continuous revisions, the published EU and EA aggregates are revised only every time they are published by Eurostat, i.e. once per quarter, back to 1st quarter 1999. In other words, the figures are published four times per year and not updated in the meanwhile.

19.2. Data revision - practice

National Statistical Institutes send first preliminary data to Eurostat which they often complete / revise later.

European Union and Euro Area aggregates are revised four times per year.

Major changes in methodology will usually be the result of legislation, and therefore announced in the Official Journal of the European Communities and other publications. Moreover, users are informed of revisions and major changes in methodology on the dedicated website.

20. Statistical processing Top
20.1. Source data

Figures are collected and transmitted to Eurostat by the National Statistical Institutes of the EU Member States following the Regulation (EC) N° 1161/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council (QSA regulation). Their basic statistics come from many sources, including administrative data from government, censuses, and surveys of businesses and households. No single type of survey can be referred to. Sources vary from country to country and may cover a large set of economic, social, financial and environmental items, which may not be strictly related to National Accounts. For further information about sources and collection methods, please refer to National Statistical Institutes.

For aggregation purposes (the euro area and EU28 aggregates), missing data concerning specific countries, transactions and sectors are estimated by Eurostat or the European Central Bank (ECB) but are not published separately. The same holds for the accounts of EU Institutions that are compiled by Eurostat on the basis of balance of payments (BoP) data and the profit and losses accounts of the European Investment Bank. The ECB accounts are compiled by the European Central Bank.

20.2. Frequency of data collection

Not available.

20.3. Data collection

Techniques of data collection vary widely. Mainly through Edamis in Gesmes format. Based on Council Regulation (EC) No 2223/96 of 25 June 1996, on the European system of national and regional accounts in the Community, OJ L 310, 30.11.1996

20.4. Data validation

Data input by National Statistical Institutes is checked for quality and completeness. Transmitted figures are screened through an extensive system of equations based on arithmetical constraints (e.g. each total must equal the sum of its components) as well as accounting relations (e.g. total uses should correspond to total resources for all distributive transaction and for goods and services as a whole).

20.5. Data compilation

Several steps are necessary to convert the national accounts data by country into actual European accounts.

1. Validation of the core variables of the national data

All inconsistencies are removed from the data received from the Member States.

2. Conversion to Euro

For the Member States not participating in the euro area, i.e. for Greece in 1999 and 2000, for Slovenia prior to 2007, for Cyprus and Malta prior to 2008 and for Slovakia prior to 2009, transactions have been converted into euro using the average exchange rates for each quarter of the reference period. The growth rates of transactions for the EU28 are thus affected by movements in exchange rates and should be viewed with caution. There is almost no impact on ratios such as profit shares or saving rates. Exchange rate movements hardly affect the euro area accounts.

3. Estimation for missing countries, sectors or transactions

The countries having a GDP lower than 1% of the EU total, are subject to reporting obligations limited to the government and rest of world sectors. This is the case for: Luxembourg, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta and Slovakia (euro area) and Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary and Romania (non euro area). However, Czech Republic reports full sector accounts on a voluntary basis. For incomplete or missing accounts, complementary estimations are carried out by Eurostat and ECB that are not published separately.


4. Estimation for the European institutions

The sector accounts provided by Member States do not record the activities of institutions and bodies set-up by European treaties as resident entities. For the general government sector, these are the following:

The Council
The Commission
The European Parliament
The Court of Justice
The Court of Auditors
The Social and Economic Committee
The Committee of the Regions

European agencies whose accounts are part of the general budget of the EU

Important transactions, especially transfers, take place between the above institutions and Member States. This is particularly the case for the Commission that is in charge of European policies. The accounts of the European institutions have then been included in European accounts, namely its government and rest of the world sectors. European institutions have not been considered in Euro Area accounts because their administrative competence goes beyond the boundaries of the monetary union.

Moreover, the accounts of the European Investment Bank (resp. European Central Bank) have been included in the financial corporations sector (S.12) of the European Union (resp. Euro Area) accounts.

5. The European rest of the world sector (RoW)

Transactions between the national economy and non-resident units, including those residing in other European Member States are recorded in the rest of the world (RoW) sectors compiled by the Member States. For instance, imports / exports recorded in Member States' national accounts include the goods and services bought from / sold to abroad, be it from/to a resident of the Euro Area / European Union or third countries.

To reflect appropriately the transactions between European areas and third countries, it is therefore necessary to remove, from the summation of national RoWs, the economic flows within the area considered.

Such "intra-transactions" are estimated using the geographical breakdown provided by Balance of Payments (BoP) data. Because of different data vintages and conceptual differences, it is not possible to ensure full consistency between the European RoW sector and BoP statistics at this stage.

For "intra-transactions", total resources should theoretically equal total uses. For instance, total imports from the Euro Area should equal total exports to the Euro Area. However, this is not the case in practice. The comparison of total intra-flows in resources and uses reveals imbalances called "asymmetries".

As a consequence, European accounts cannot be derived by simply removing the intra-flows of each transaction. The resulting discrepancies have to be allocated to the different sectors in order to re-balance the European accounts. However, the accounts of government (S.13) are not modified by the balancing procedure.

Data in national currency are converted in euros using the quarterly average of the current market exchange rates. The transactions are recorded on an accrual basis (i.e. not on a cash basis), that is, when economic value is created, transformed or extinguished.

20.6. Adjustment

The QSA transactions may be subject to seasonal fluctuations that can be removed either by seasonal adjustment techniques or by comparing a quarter with the same quarter of the previous year. The latter method allows tracing developments over a full year but not between two consecutive quarters. For the time being, a selection of analytical ratios (and their components), namely the household saving rate, household investment rate, non-financial corporations' investment rate and profit share are seasonally adjusted using the TRAMO/SEATS method. Details on the methodology of seasonal adjustment, as well as ARIMA models and parameters are available on the section dedicated to sector accounts of the website (see the link Methodology). The rest of the European sector accounts data are not seasonally adjusted.

21. Comment Top


Related metadata Top
nasa_esms - Annual sector accounts

Annexes Top