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Government finance statistics - quarterly data

From Statistics Explained

Data from 22 January 2014, updated on 31 January. Seasonal adjustment metadata updated on 22 January 2014. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database.

In recent years Eurostat has significantly expanded the range of integrated quarterly data on government finances available, providing a timely and increasingly high quality picture of the evolution of government finances in the European Union (EU). The data presented in this article reflect both non-financial and financial (quarterly non-financial and financial accounts for general government) transactions and cover all European Union (EU-28) countries as well as Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.

This article is based on data transmitted to Eurostat at the end of December 2013 and during January 2014 and includes data coverage of the third quarter of 2013. It is supplemented by non-financial seasonally adjusted data estimated provided on a voluntary basis by EU and EFTA countries' National Statistical Institutes. Eurostat regularly publishes seasonally adjusted and working day adjusted quarterly data on government revenue, expenditure and surplus (+)/ deficit (-), currently for fourteen Member States and the EU aggregates.

Figure 1: EU-27 quarterly government revenue and expenditure, as a percentage of quarterly GDP, seasonally adjusted and non-adjusted data - Source: Eurostat (gov_q_ggnfa), seasonally adjusted data: Eurostat estimates

Main statistical findings

Figure 2: EA-17 quarterly government revenue and expenditure, as a percentage of quarterly GDP, seasonally adjusted and non-adjusted data - Source: Eurostat (gov_q_ggnfa), seasonally adjusted data: Eurostat estimates
Figure 3: Main components of EU-27 general government total revenue, % of GDP, non-adjusted data - Source: Eurostat (gov_q_ggnfa)
Figure 4: Main components of EA-17 general government total revenue, % of GDP, non-adjusted data - Source: Eurostat (gov_q_ggnfa)
Figure 5: Main components of EU-27 general government total expenditure, % of GDP, non-adjusted data - Source: Eurostat (gov_q_ggnfa)
Figure 6: Main components of EA-17 general government total expenditure, % of GDP, non-adjusted data - Source: Eurostat (gov_q_ggnfa)
Figure 7: EU-27 quarterly government revenue and expenditure, in billions of euro, seasonally adjusted and non-adjusted data - Source: Eurostat (gov_q_ggnfa), seasonally adjusted data: Eurostat estimates
Figure 8: EU-27 quarterly government revenue and expenditure, in billions of euro, seasonally adjusted data, area presentation - Source: Eurostat (gov_q_ggnfa), seasonally adjusted data: Eurostat estimates
Figure 9: EA-17 quarterly government revenue and expenditure, in billions of euro, seasonally adjusted and non-adjusted data - Source: Eurostat (gov_q_ggnfa), seasonally adjusted data: Eurostat estimates
Figure 10: EU-27 quarterly net lending (+)/ net borrowing (-) in billions of euro and as a percentage of GDP, seasonally adjusted and non- adjusted data - Source: Eurostat (gov_q_ggnfa), seasonally adjusted data: Eurostat estimates
Figure 11: EA-17 quarterly net lending (+)/ net borrowing (-) in billions of euro and as a percentage of GDP, seasonally adjusted and non- adjusted data - Source: Eurostat (gov_q_ggnfa), seasonally adjusted data: Eurostat estimates
Table 1: EA-17, EA-18, EU-27 and EU-28 quarterly net lending (+)/ net borrowing (-), total expenditure and total revenue as a percentage of GDP, seasonally adjusted data - Source: Eurostat (gov_q_ggnfa), seasonally adjusted data: Eurostat and National Statistical Instititute estimates
Table 2: Quarterly net lending (+)/ net borrowing (-) as a percentage of GDP, seasonally adjusted data - Source: Eurostat (gov_q_ggnfa), seasonally adjusted data: National Statistical Institute estimates
Table 3: Quarterly net lending (+)/ net borrowing (-) by country, non-seasonally adjusted data - Source: Eurostat (gov_q_ggnfa)
Figure 12: EU-27 quarterly general government financial transactions (assets, liabilities and net financial transactions) in billions of euro, seasonally adjusted and non-adjusted - Source: Eurostat (gov_q_ggfa), seasonally adjusted data: Eurostat estimates
Figure 13: EA-17 quarterly general government financial transactions (assets, liabilities and net financial transactions) in billions of euro, seasonally adjusted and non-adjusted - Source: Eurostat (gov_q_ggfa), seasonally adjusted data: Eurostat estimates
Figure 14: EU-27 quarterly general government stocks of financial assets and liabilities in billions of euro and as a percentage of annualised quarterly GDP - Source: Eurostat (gov_q_ggfa)
Figure 15: EA-17 quarterly general government stocks of financial assets and liabilities in billions of euro and as a percentage of annualised quarterly GDP - Source: Eurostat (gov_q_ggfa)
Figure 16: EU-27 quarterly general government stocks of financial assets by financial instrument as a percentage of annualised quarterly GDP - Source: Eurostat (gov_q_ggfa)
Figure 17: EA-17 quarterly general government stocks of financial assets by financial instrument as a percentage of annualised quarterly GDP - Source: Eurostat (gov_q_ggfa)
Figure 18: EU-27 quarterly general government stocks of financial liabilities by financial instrument as a percentage of annualised quarterly GDP - Source: Eurostat (gov_q_qfagg)
Figure 19: EA-17 quarterly general government stocks of financial liabilities by financial instrument as a percentage of annualised quarterly GDP - Source: Eurostat (gov_q_ggfa)
Figure 20: General government gross debt as a percentage of annualised quarterly GDP - Source: Eurostat (gov_q_ggdebt)

In the third quarter of 2013, the seasonally adjusted general government deficit to GDP ratio stood at 3.1 % in the euro area (EA-17), down from 3.3 % in the second quarter of 2013. In the EU-28 and EU-27 the deficit to GDP ratio remained nearly stable at 3.5 %.

In the third quarter of 2013, total government revenue in the euro area (EA-17) amounted to 47.1 % of GDP, up from 46.9 % in the second quarter of 2013. Total government expenditure in the euro area reached 50.2 % of GDP, stable compared with the previous quarter.

In the third quarter of 2013, total government revenue in the EU-28 and EU-27 was 45.8 % of GDP and 45.9 % of GDP respectively, down from 46.0 % in the second quarter of 2013. Total government expenditure in the EU-28 was 49.3 % of GDP and 49.4 % of GDP in the EU-27, nearly stable compared with the previous quarter (49.4 % of GDP and 49.5 % of GDP respectively).

Quarterly non-financial accounts for general government

Quarterly trends in government revenue and expenditure

In the third quarter of 2013, non-seasonally adjusted data indicated EU-27 and EU-28 total general government revenue amounting to 44.3 % of GDP, while EA-17 general government total revenue amounted to 45.2 % of GDP.

Looking at Figures 1 and 2 we can see that both total revenue and expenditure exhibit a clear seasonality. In order to interpret trends for the most recent quarters, seasonally adjusted data is presented in addition to the raw data transmitted by EU Member States (see explanation below).

EU-27 and EA-17 seasonally adjusted general government total revenue were equal to 45.9 % and 47.1 % of GDP respectively in in the third quarter of 2013.

After reaching its last peak at 45.0 % of GDP in 2008Q3, EU-27 seasonally adjusted general government total revenue slowly decreased in the subsequent quarters to reach a low point in 2009Q3 at 43.8 % of GDP. There was no increase of the revenue-to-GDP ratio during 2010, but an increase of governments' abilities to raise revenue is apparent in all quarters of 2011, with a high point of 44.9 % of GDP in 2011Q4. This slow increase continued in 2012 and during the first two quarters of 2013. In the third quarter of 2013, a slight decrease in the total revenue to GDP ratio is noted (-0.1 percentage points of GDP).

When looking at absolute numbers we can see that EU-27 seasonally adjusted government revenue decreased in the last two quarters of 2008 and - to a lesser extent - the first quarter of 2009, before resuming growth. The peaks observed in the first quarter of 2011 and the second quarter of 2012 are due to one-off events in Hungary and the United Kingdom, respectively. These events relate mainly to transfers of assets of pension schemes to government. In the third quarter of 2013, EU-27 seasonally adjusted total revenue stood at EUR 1 495 billion, which is slightly lower than the value recorded for the second quarter of 2013 (EUR 1 496 billion).

In the EA-17 absolute general government total revenue followed a similar trend, except that a slight decline in total revenue was already visible in 2008Q2. In the third quarter of 2013, seasonally adjusted total revenue of general government stood at around EUR 1 128 billion, up from 1 122 billion in the second quarter of 2013.

The most important component of general government revenue is taxes, making up around 59 % of total revenue (not seasonally adjusted) in the most recent quarter available in the EU-27. During the crisis, taxes had decreased in absolute terms and in terms of GDP, thus playing their role as automatic stabilisers of the economy. We can see from Figure 3 that taxes exhibit a clear seasonal pattern, peaking in the last quarter of each year (due to payment deadlines at the end of the fiscal year in many countries). This is followed in importance by social contributions, which made up 31 % of total revenue in 2013Q3, with government sales (mainly the services government provides) making up just under 6 %.

The sharp increases in government expenditure-to-GDP ratios observed during the economic downturn are due both to increasing government expenditure at current prices and to shrinking or stagnating GDP figures.

In absolute terms up to 2010 seasonally adjusted government expenditure continued to grow at a similar pace during the crisis than before the crisis up to the third quarter of 2010, with a stronger increase in expenditure noted in the third quarter of 2010 both in the EA-17, the EU-28 and the EU-27 (Figure 5). The figure in a number of quarters from the third quarter of 2010 onwards are strongly influenced by supports to the banking sector in different Member States.

From 2010Q4 onwards, a decrease in the level of the total expenditure-to-GDP ratio is visible, reflecting an absolute decrease in total expenditure as well as the effects of renewed growth in EU-27 and EA-17 GDP (all seasonally adjusted). In the EU, seasonally adjusted total expenditure as a ratio to GDP declined by over two percentage points from 2010Q3 (51.2 % of GDP) to 2011Q2 (48.9 % of GDP).

In the fourth quarter of 2012 and in the second quarter of 2013, total expenditure increased slightly in both areas, influenced by interventions to support the banking sector in several Member States, notably in Spain in the fourth quarter of 2012 and in Greece in the second quarter of 2013.

In the third quarter of 2013, seasonally adjusted EU-27 total expenditure stood at 49.4 % of quarterly GDP, at 49.3 % in the EU-28 and at 50.2 % of GDP in the EA-17. For the EU-27, this represents a decrease of -0.1 percentage points of GDP compared to the second quarter of 2013, while for the EA-17, the ratio remained unchanged.

Social welfare spending accounted for about 45 % of EU-27 total government expenditure in the third quarter of 2013, which represents around 21.6 % of quarterly GDP (not seasonally adjusted). This category typically covers risks or needs such as sickness, disability, old age, family support and unemployment and – not surprisingly - was responsible for a large part of the increase of the expenditure-to-GDP ratio recorded during the crisis.

In 2013Q3 in the EU-27, 'compensation of employees' represented 10.2 % of GDP, 'intermediate consumption' 6.4 %, 'property income, payable' (mainly interest payments) 2.6 %, investments 2.3 %, subsidies 1.1 % and other categories 1.2 %. The breakdown of government expenditure and revenue by main categories shows significant variability across countries.

General government deficit

The difference between general government revenue and expenditure is known in ESA95 terminology as general government net lending (+)/ net borrowing (-) (ESA95 category B.9) and is usually referred to as government deficit (or surplus). This figure is an important indicator of the overall situation of government finances. It is usually expressed as a percentage of GDP.

EU-27 and EA-17 general government deficit (seasonally adjusted) decreased significantly since the fourth quarter of 2010, to stand at -3.5 % of GDP and at -3.1 % of GDP respectively in the third quarter of 2013. However, for the EU-27 this represents a slight increase of 0.1 percentage points of GDP compared to the previous quarter. For the EA-17, a decrease of -0.2 percentage points is recorded.

Due to the economic and financial crisis, which started in 2008, EU-27 government deficit steadily deteriorated and reached record levels of -7.2 % and -7.2 % of GDP (seasonally adjusted) in 2009Q3 and 2010Q3 respectively. The beginning of the consolidation of public finances which can be observed from 2010Q4 onwards is due to a reduction in government expenditure not only in terms of GDP but also in absolute terms as well as continued growth in absolute revenue (seasonally adjusted absolute numbers), which outpaced the growth in GDP. However, from 2011Q3 onwards, general government total expenditure resumed growth when measured in absolute terms.

In the second quarter of 2013, the government deficits of the EA-17 and the EU-27 had nearly converged, largely due to a positive influence on the deficit in the United Kingdom due to dividends from the Bank of England Asset Purchase Facility in 2013Q1 and 2013Q2.

The differing evolution of the EA-17 and EU-27 in 2012Q2 is largely due to a one-off event in the United Kingdom. The nationalisation of the Royal Mail pension scheme and corresponding assumption of assets in 2012Q2, recorded as a capital transfer to the general government sector, had a positive impact of about 30 billion GBP on the EU-27 total.

Seasonally adjusted general government deficit

It should be noted that annualised seasonally adjusted data is not in general equal to annualised non-adjusted data. When using annualised figures, it is more appropriate to use non-seasonally adjusted data. Using seasonally adjusted data is on the contrary more appropriate when looking at quarter-on-quarter growth rates.

In 2013Q3, among the countries for which the seasonally adjusted deficit is published, the smallest deficits are recorded for Denmark (-0.6% of GDP), Estonia (-0.8 % of GDP), Slovenia and Sweden (both at -1.7 % of GDP). The largest deficits were recorded in Malta and the United Kingdom (both at -5.6 % of GDP).

The largest decreases in the deficit-to-GDP ratio were recorded by Slovenia (+2.7 pp of GDP, influenced by large dividends received from the National Central Bank), the Czech Republic (+0.5 pp of GDP) and Bulgaria (+0.3 pp of GDP).

The largest quarter-on-quarter increases in the deficit were recorded by Malta (-4.1 pp of GDP), Portugal (-2.0 pp of GDP), Latvia and Austria (both -1.7 pp of GDP).

The 2012Q4 deficit for the Czech Republic is negatively influenced by a capital transfer in the context of the restitution of assets to churches.

The large quarter-on-quarter increase in net borrowing in Slovenia in 2013Q1 is due to a capital injection treated as capital transfer to a bank.

On Eurobase, seasonally adjusted and calendar day adjusted total revenue and total expenditure data of Member States and EFTA countries, which provide seasonally adjusted and calendar day adjusted data for total revenue, total expenditure and net lending (+)/ net borrowing (-) in addition to the legal requirements of the ESA95 transmission programme, is presented in full detail. This data is provided on a voluntary basis by the National Statistical Institutes.

Non-seasonally adjusted general government deficit

In the third quarter of 2013, twelve Member States recorded an improvement in their government balance relative to GDP with respect to the same quarter in 2012. These are: Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, Greece, Croatia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovenia and the United Kingdom.

The largest decreases with respect to the third quarter of 2012 are recorded in Greece (+10.0 pp of GDP, influenced by capital transfers to support banks in 2012Q3), Denmark (+3.7 pp of GDP, influenced by the closure of an early retirement pension scheme affecting the deficit in the third quarter of 2012) and in Slovenia (+2.6 pp of GDP, influenced by a large dividend received from the National Central Bank in the third quarter of 2013).

In the third quarter of 2013, fourteen Member States recorded a deterioration in their government balance relative to GDP compared to the same quarter in 2012. These are: Bulgaria, Estonia, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Hungary, Malta, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Finland and Sweden.

In the first three quarters of 2013 (year to date), Greece records the biggest deterioration of the deficit with respect to the same period in 2012 (-6.8 pp. of GDP). This is largely due to capital transfers from General Government for bank resolutions recorded in the first two quarters of 2013. The impact of the capital transfers in the second quarter of 2013 amounted to around 25 % of quarterly GDP.

In the first three quarters of 2013 (year to date), the largest improvements compared to the same period in 2012 are recorded in Denmark (+3.6 pp of GDP), the Netherlands (+2.5 pp of GDP, influenced by revenue from UMTS auctions recorded in the first quarter of 2013) and Cyprus (+1.9 pp of GDP).

Quarterly financial accounts for general government

Financial transactions - assets, liabilities and net financial transactions

The government financial accounts notably allow an analysis of how governments finance their deficits or invest their surpluses. They include data on financial transactions (net acquisition of financial assets and the net incurrence of financial liabilities) and balance sheet items (stocks of financial assets and liabilities outstanding at the end of each quarter) for general government and its sub-sectors. Variations in stocks are explained both by the transactions and by other factors such as holding gains and losses and other changes in volume. The aim of this section is to present the main characteristics of the general government financial accounts.

The economic and financial crisis led to significant increases in the fluctuations of net incurrence of liabilities and net acquisition of financial assets.

From the fourth quarter of 2008 onwards, the fluctuation of transactions in both assets and liabilities has increased sharply. The gap between the volume of transactions in assets and liabilities has widened sharply, giving rise to increasing negative figures in net financial transactions (B.9f), which is interpreted as the government deficit/ surplus derived from financial accounts. The increase and peaks in transactions in financial assets can be explained by governments having acquired assets to support financial institutions.

Net financial transactions continued to deteriorate steadily from 2008Q2 to 2009Q3. From 2010Q4 onwards a decrease is visible.

In the third quarter of 2013, net financial transactions (seasonally adjusted) amounted to EUR -106 billion in the EU-27 and EUR -59 billion in the EA-17. Non-seasonally adjusted data indicated net financial transactions at EUR -105 billion in the EU-27 and at EUR -72 billion in the EA-17.

Government financial balance sheet

A significant rise in the stocks of liabilities has been observed since the end of 2008, together with an increase in assets which was less pronounced.

At the end of the third quarter of 2013, the EU-27 stock of general government financial assets reached EUR 5 083 billion, while the stock of liabilities amounted to EUR 12 855 billion, meaning that the stock of financial liabilities decreased by EUR 26 billion, while the stock of financial assets decreased by EUR 75 billion compared to the second quarter of 2013.

At the end of the third quarter of 2013, the resulting net financial worth was negative at EUR -7 771 billion, and decreased by EUR 48 billion compared to the second quarter of 2013.

In the euro area (EA-17), the stock of financial assets amounted to EUR 3 679 billion while the stock of liabilities stood at EUR 10 050 billion, leaving net financial worth at EUR -6 371 billion at the end of 2013Q3. Compared to the end of the second quarter of 2013, a decrease in the stock of financial assets by EUR 86 billion and a decrease in the stock of financial liabilities by EUR 91 billion is noted. This implies an increase in net financial worth of EUR 5 billion. In the EA-17, the stock of financial liabilities decreased for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2011.

The stocks of financial assets had previously been quite stable, but from 2009Q1 onwards increases are observed for this indicator.

In the EU-27, the stock of financial liabilities stood at 99.0 % of annualised quarterly GDP (i.e. quarterly GDP summed over the previous four quarters), while the stock of financial assets was equivalent to 39.2 % of annualised quarterly GDP.

In the euro area, the stock of financial liabilities stood at 105.4 % of annualised quarterly GDP in 2013Q3, while the stock of financial assets was equivalent to 38.6 % of annualised quarterly GDP. In the previous quarter the stock of financial liabilities stood at 106.7 % of annualised quarterly GDP in 2013Q3, while the stock of financial assets was equivalent to 39.6 % of annualised quarterly GDP.

In the EU-27, the most important component of government financial assets is 'shares and other equity', which was equivalent to 22.8 % of annualised quarterly GDP at the end of 2013Q3. This corresponds predominantly to the acquisition of equity in financial institutions by governments. Unsurprisingly, the stock of assets classified as shares and other equity has increased during the economic and financial crisis, but has shown a decreasing trend during 2011, before again increasing in quarters of 2012. Between the first and the second quarter of 2013 a decrease is noted followed by a slight increase for the third quarter of 2013.

The next largest categories of EU-27 government financial assets are 'currency and deposits', equivalent to 6.6 % of GDP at the end of 2013Q3 (down from 7.2 % of GDP in 2013Q3), 'loans' (this instrument contains both short-term and long-term loans) and 'other financial assets', the latter two equivalent to 6.6 % and 7.7 % of GDP respectively in 2013Q3. 'Loans' had increased substantially up to the end of 2013Q2, but declined slightly by 0.1 percentage point of GDP in 2013Q3.

'Currency and deposits' shows a seasonal pattern, explained by bank accounts of government units and pensions guaranteed and notably of treasuries maintaining abundant liquid assets that can fluctuate very quickly and by large amounts. In the third and fourth quarters a decline is often observed. It is evident that governments had acquired greater assets in currency and deposits during 2009 and to a lesser extent in 2010 due to an increase in liquidity.

Finally, for 'securities other than shares' (3.1 % of GDP in the EU-27 in 2013Q3) lower amounts are recorded. The percentage share of this component has been fairly stable over the years, which is explained by the asset investment strategies. Nevertheless, during the recent crisis, the GDP shares of both instruments have increased and continue to increase, reflecting loans to other sectors of the economy.

The main component of EU-27 financial liabilities is 'securities other than shares', which made up around 75.1 % of the total stock of liabilities at the end of 2013Q3 – this in turn is mainly government bonds and bills. This category is also mostly responsible for the increase of total liabilities. It increased from 47.8 % of annualised quarterly GDP in 2008Q2 to 75.3 % in 2013Q2 as governments financed their deficits by issuing securities. However, from the end of the second quarter of 2013 to the end of the third quarter of 2013, a decline of 0.2 percentage points of GDP is observed. In the EA-17, the decline is stronger - 77.8 % of GDP in 2013Q3 compared to 78.7 % of GDP in 2013Q2.

The three other components of liabilities – 'currency and deposits', 'loans' and 'other liabilities' – have proven to be fairly stable over time.

Quarterly gross debt for general government

At the end of the third quarter of 2013, the government debt to GDP ratio in the (EA-17) stood at 92.7 %, compared with 93.4 % at the end of the second quarter of 2013, the first fall in absolute terms since the fourth quarter of 2007. In the EU-28 the ratio increased from 86.7% to 86.8%. Compared with the third quarter of 2012, the government debt to GDP ratio rose in both the euro area (from 90.0 % to 92.7 %) and the EU-28 (from 84.9 % to 86.8 %).

At the end of the third quarter of 2013, securities other than shares accounted for 79.3 % of euro area government debt, loans for 17.9 % and currency and deposits for 2.7 %.

EU-28 government debt was made up of 80.9 % securities other than shares, 15.5 % loans and 3.6 % currency and deposits.

Due to the involvement of EU governments in financial assistance to some Member States, quarterly data on intergovernmental lending (IGL) is also needed to consolidate EU and euro area aggregate debt. The share of IGL in GDP at the end of the third quarter of 2013 amounted to 2.4 % for the euro area and to 1.8 % for the EU-28.

The highest ratios of government debt to GDP at the end of the third quarter of 2013 were recorded in Greece (171.8 %), Italy (132.9 %), Portugal (128.7 %) and Ireland (124.8 %), and the lowest in Estonia (10.0 %), Bulgaria (17.3 %) and Luxembourg (27.7 % )

Data sources and availability

Quarterly accounts of general government

Eurostat releases quarterly flow and stock data for the general government sector, using an integrated structure which combines the data from quarterly non-financial accounts for general government (QNFAGG), quarterly financial accounts for general government (QFAGG) and quarterly government debt (QGD). An integrated publication combining data from all three tables is released quarterly on the dedicated Government Finance Statistics (GFS) section of the Eurostat web site and on the dedicated Statistics Explained page Integrated government finance statistics presentation.

The regulations on these three data transmissions are available on the Eurostat web site in the section dedicated to government statistics.

ESA95

Fiscal non-financial and financial accounts data are compiled in accordance with national accounts rules, as laid down in the 1995 European System of Accounts (ESA95) adopted in the form of a Council and Parliament Regulation (EC) No 2223/1996 of 25 June 1996. The full text of ESA95 is available on the Eurostat web site.

Quarterly non-financial accounts for general government (QNFAGG)

The aim of QNFAGG is to compile, report and present quarterly government expenditure, revenue and their components. Government revenue and expenditure are concepts used to analyse fiscal policy. Total revenue and total expenditure are defined in ways such that the ESA95 government net lending (+)/ net borrowing (-) (ESA95 B.9), is equal to the difference between the former and the latter. Government quarterly revenue and expenditure, and their components are reported in the framework of the European Parliament and Council Regulation (EC) No 1221/2002 on quarterly non-financial accounts for general government (QNFAGG).

Quarterly financial accounts for general government (QFAGG)

Quarterly financial accounts for general government include data on financial transactions and balance sheet items for general government (consolidated and non-consolidated) and its sub-sectors. The primary classification of financial instruments comprises: Monetary gold and special drawing rights (AF.1), Currency and deposits (AF.2), Securities other than shares (AF.3), Loans (AF.4), Shares and other equity (AF.5), Insurance technical reserves (AF.6), and Other accounts receivable/ payable (AF.7). The reliability of data reported by Member States has been assessed and reported to the European Parliament and the Council. The most recent reports are available on the Eurostat web site in the section dedicated to government finance statistics. The QFAGG data is reported in the framework of Regulation (EC) No 501/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 March 2004 on quarterly financial accounts for general government (Text with EEA relevance).

Quarterly government debt (QGD)

Quarterly government debt is constituted by the liabilities of general government in the following categories: AF.2 (currency and deposits), AF.33 (securities other than shares, excluding financial derivatives) and AF.4 (loans). QGD must comply with ESA95 regulations concerning the classification of institutional units, consolidation rules, classification of financial liabilities and recording time. However, the valuation rules are different from those of ESA95. While in ESA95 assets and liabilities must generally be recorded at their market value at the end of the accounting period, QGD is recorded at nominal (face)value. The market value is the price of a security as determined dynamically by buyers and sellers in an open market while the nominal value is considered equivalent to the face value of liabilities for securities. It is therefore equal to the amount (contractually agreed) that the government will have to refund to creditors at maturity. Moreover, in the definition of Maastricht debt, interest accrued on liabilities is not accounted for in the nominal valuation, unless explicitly credited. QGD data is the subject of a dedicated press release and is thus not covered in detail in this article. The quarterly government debt is reported in the framework of Council Regulation (EC) No 1222/2004 of 28 June 2004 concerning the compilation and transmission of data on the quarterly government debt.

General government

QNFAGG and QFAGG statistics cover data for general government.

According to ESA95, paragraph 2.68 "the sector general government (S.13) includes all institutional units which are other non-market producers (institutional units whose sales do not cover more than the 50 % of the production costs, see ESA95 paragraph 3.26) whose output is intended for individual and collective consumption, and mainly financed by compulsory payments made by units belonging to other sectors and/or all institutional units principally engaged in the redistribution of national income and wealth".

Seasonal adjustment of selected data series

Quarterly government finance statistics are reported to Eurostat in the form of non-seasonally adjusted (raw) figures. However, a certain number of the reported series contain seasonal patterns (explained by the link with the seasonality of economic activity and by the budgetary planning and accounting practices of national governments), which make it difficult to carry out a direct meaningful cross-country and time series analysis using non-adjusted data. The same is true for GDP, which reflects the seasonal pattern of all economic activities in the economy.

To overcome this difficulty and thus to gain a better understanding of trends in addition to the non-seasonally adjusted data, seasonally adjusted data is presented for the EU-27 and EA-17 in this article. The seasonal adjustment aims to remove the seasonality linked to this quarterly data.

It should be noted that annualised seasonally adjusted data is not in general equal to annualised non-adjusted data. When using annualised figures, it is more appropriate to use non-seasonally adjusted data. Using seasonally adjusted data is more appropriate when looking at quarter-on-quarter growth rates.

The seasonal adjustment for total revenue and total expenditure is done using an indirect procedure (at country level using Tramo-Seats in Demetra+). Where available, National Statistical Institutes own estimates are used as input for the aggregates. Some country level estimates as well as data for the EU aggregates are published on Eurobase. Net lending (+)/ net borrowing (-) is derived indirectly from the accounting identity: Net lending (+)/ net borrowing (-)= total revenue - total expenditure.

Where available, National Statistical Institutes own estimates are used as input for the aggregates, which are supplied to Eurostat on a gentlemen's agreement basis. Some country level estimates as well as data for the EU aggregates are published on Eurobase. These estimates are supplemented by Eurostat's own estimates for those countries, which do not yet supply their own estimate. This data is labelled confidential and not published.

Net lending (+)/ net borrowing (-) is derived indirectly from the accounting identity: Net lending (+)/ net borrowing (-) = total revenue - total expenditure.

As concerns GDP, no independent estimate is derived.

EU-28 seasonally adjusted data have been estimated using EU-27 seasonally adjusted data and the available quarterly pattern for Croatia. Croatian quarterly data are available from first quarter 2012.

For the following countries, the estimates are produced by the respective National Statistical Institute, which all follow the “ESS guidelines on seasonal adjustment”:

Belgium: The seasonally adjusted series are computed following an indirect approach. The components of the revenue and of the expenditure of the General Government are seasonally adjusted by means of "Tramo-Seats", taking into account the presence of possible outliers and calendar effects. The model of each component (>20) has been individually validated (no automatic modelling). The absence of residual seasonality after aggregation has been checked. The data are benchmarked on annual totals of the non-adjusted series. The annual benchmarking is computed on each component by means of a multiplicative Denton procedure.

Bulgaria: Tramo-Seats on Demetra +. Total expenditure: no trading days effects, ARIMA model [(0,1,1)(0,1,0)], outliers: AO[2007-IV], TC[2008-IV]. Total revenue: Log-transformation. No trading days effects, no Easter effect, ARIMA model [(0,1,0)(1,1,0)], outlier: LS[2007-I].

Czech Republic: Tramo-Seats on Demetra +. Total expenditure: No trading days effects, no Easter effect, ARIMA model [(0,1,1)(0,1,1)], outliers: AO[2003-I], AO[2003-III], AO[2012-IV], TC[2001-IV]. Total revenue: No trading days effects, no Easter effect, ARIMA model [(1,1,0)(0,1,1)], outliers: AO[2003-I], TC[2007-III], AO[2008-III].

Denmark: X12-ARIMA. Total expenditure: Log-transformation, no trading days effects, no Easter effect, ARIMA model [(0,1,1)(0,1,1)], outliers: AO[2008-I], TC[2012-II].Total revenue: Log-transformation, trading days effects, no Easter effect, ARIMA model [(0,1,0)(0,1,1)], outliers: LS[2009-I].

Estonia: Tramo-Seats on Demetra +. Total expenditure: National calendar used, trading days effects (1 variable), no Easter effect, ARIMA model [(0,1,0)(0,1,1)], AO[2008-IV]. Total revenue: No trading days effects, no Easter effect, ARIMA model [(1,1,0)(0,1,0)], outliers: AO[2009-IV].

Latvia: Tramo-Seats on Demetra +. Total expenditure: Log-transformation, no trading days effects, no Easter effect, ARIMA model [(0,1,1)(0,1,1)], outliers: LS[2009-III], LS[2006-IV], LS[2005-IV]. Total revenue: Log-transformation, no trading days effects, no Easter effect, ARIMA model [(0,1,0)(0,1,1)], outlier: LS[2008-IV].

Malta: Tramo-Seats on Demetra+. Total expenditure: Log-transformation, no trading days effects, no Easter effects, ARIMA model [(0,1,1)(0,1,1)], Detected outliers: AO[2003-IV]. Total revenue: no trading days effects, no Easter effects, ARIMA model [(0,0,0)(0,1,1)].

Austria: Tramo-Seats on Demetra +. Total expenditure: no trading days effects, no Easter effect, ARIMA model [(0,1,1)(0,1,1)], outliers: AO[2004-IV]. Total revenue: Log-transformation, no trading days effects, no Easter effect, ARIMA model [(0,1,1)(0,1,0)], outlier: LS[2009-I].

Portugal: X13-ARIMA on Demetra+. A manual pre-treatment is performed by identifying and deducting one-off measures. Additional pre-treatment is applied for outlier detection and correction. The seasonal adjustment is applied to total revenue, expenditure except compensation of employees and compensation of employees. Total revenue: no trading day effect; no Easter effect; ARIMA model [(011)(011)]; outliers: AO[2003 IV], AO[2004 IV]. Expenditure except compensation of employees: no trading day effect; no Easter effect; ARIMA model [(001)(011)]; outliers: AO[2002 III], AO[2002 IV], AO[2009 III], LS[2012 I]. Compensation of employees: no trading day effect; no Easter effect; ARIMA model [(011)(011)]; outliers: SO[2012 II IV].

Slovenia: Tramo-Seats on Demetra +. Model for total revenue: Log transformation, 6 variables for trading days effects, Slovenia holidays, Easter effect (6 days), outliers: LS[2008-IV], AO[2013-III], ARIMA(0,1,0)(0,1,1) model. Model for total expenditure: Log transformation, no trading days effects, no Easter effect, 3 pre-specified outliers (AO[2001-I], AO[2011-I], (AO[2013-I]), ARIMA(1,1,0)(0,1,1) model.

Slovakia: Tramo-Seats on Demetra +. Total expenditure: no trading days effects, Easter effect (4 days), ARIMA model [(1,0,0)(0,1,0)], outliers: LS[2000-IV], AO[2002-IV]. Total revenue: Log-transformation, no trading days effects, no Easter effect, ARIMA model [(0,1,0)(0,1,1)].

Finland: Tramo-Seats on Demetra 2.2. Pre-treatment is done if necessary, for example for outlier detection and correction. Total revenue and expenditure are estimated indirectly on the basis of their components and on sub-sector data.

Sweden: Tramo-Seats on Demetra +. Total expenditure: Log-transformation, no trading days effects, no Easter effect, ARIMA model [(1,1,0)(0,1,1)], no outliers. Total revenue: Log-transformation, no trading days effects, no Easter effect, ARIMA model [(1,0,0)(0,1,0)], outlier: LS[2009-I].

United Kingdom: Adjustment using X-11 algorithm in X-13ARIMA-SEATS. Net borrowing: No trading day effects, no Easter effect, additive, ARIMA model [(0,1,1)(0,1,1)], outliers: LS[2009Q1], seasonal moving average: 3x5, trend moving average: 5. Total expenditure: No trading day effects, no Easter effects, additive, ARIMA model[(0,1,1)(0,1,1)], outliers: LS[2008Q3], seasonal moving average: 3x3, trend moving average: 5. Total revenue: no trading day effects, no Easter effects, log transformation, ARIMA model[(0,1,1)(0,1,1)], outliers: AO[2008Q3], LS[2009Q1], AO[2012Q2], seasonal moving average: 3x5, trend moving average: 5. For the purpose of calculation the EU aggregates, B.9 is derived indirectly.

Switzerland: The data reported is trend-cycle data. A Denton-Cholette method is used to temporally disaggregate annual data. The quarterly data is extrapolated using smoothed indicators.

Net financial transactions is derived using a direct method of seasonal adjustment for the EU-27 and EA-17 (Tramo-Seats on Demetra+).

As concerns GDP, no independent estimate is derived.

Revision policies/ country notes

The differing revision policies of EU Member States and EFTA countries reporting quarterly GFS data can be viewed in the QNFAGG and QFAGG manuals as well as in the respective metadata files on Eurobase. Revisions are generally accepted by Eurostat at any time.

The majority of countries revise quarterly QNFAGG, QFAGG and QGD data once more detailed sources used for the compilation of annual general government accounts become available; that is with the provision of quarterly data for the fourth quarter. A number of countries revise also previous years' data outside the transmission periods for annual data. Thus timing differences with annual tables arise.

Germany: Certain transactions, including net lending (+)/ net borrowing (-) are under embargo until all quarters of the current year (2013) are available.

Greece: D.9pay for 2012Q3 is mainly due to amounts transfered by Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF, classified in S.13), in particular its transfer to Piraeus Bank (classified in S.12) to cover the funding gap between the assets and liabilities of Agricultural Bank of Greece that were transferred to Piraeus Bank. D.9pay for 2013Q2 is mainly due to amounts transferred by Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF, classified in S.13), in particular to NBG, Eurobank and Alpha Bank for recapitalisation purposes as well as provisional amounts for the resolution of First Business Bank. D.9pay for 2013Q3 is mainly due to ammounts transferred by HFSF to S.12; in particular to Piraeus Bank for recapitalisation purposes as well as provisional amount for the resolution of Probank and the share capital increase of New Proton prior to its sale to Eurobank.

France: Certain transactions, including net lending (+)/ net borrowing (-) are under embargo until all quarters of the current year (2013) are available.

Croatia: Due to the on-going process of quality improvement of the general government reporting system (including data sources) for quarterly GFS data, Eurostat publishes Croatian data with a provisional flag.

Cyprus: Eurostat and CYSTAT mutually agree to provisionally classify the signature bonus payments related to fossil fuel exploration contracts in the Cypriot EEZ as K.2 in 2013Q1 until the methodological discussion on its treatment is concluded. The increase in debt is largely due to European Stability Mechanism loans disbursed under the financial assistance package for Cyprus.

the Netherlands: The Dutch government nationalised the financial corporation SNS Reaal on 1 February 2013. The capital injections by the Dutch government into SNS Reaal (billion EUR 2.2) are provisionally recorded as financial transactions (AF.5) in 2013Q1. This issue is being discussed with Eurostat.

Austria: In the context of the excessive deficit procedure Eurostat has issued a reservation on the government debt data reported by Austria. For more information please see [1].

Please refer to the country notes on EMIS for more important information at country level.

Gross domestic product

Throughout this publication, gross domestic product (GDP) at current prices (nominal) is used, either using the non-seasonally adjusted or the seasonally and working-day adjusted forms as appropriate.

See also

Further Eurostat information

Publications


Main tables

Annual government finance statistics (t_gov_a)
Government deficit and debt (t_gov_dd)
Quarterly government finance statistics (t_gov_q)

Database

Annual government finance statistics (gov_a)
Government deficit and debt (gov_dd)
Quarterly government finance statistics (gov_q)

Dedicated section

Methodology / Metadata

Other information

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