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Subjects > Balance of Payments

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Subject: Balance of Payments

Contact person/organisation

Name of collection/source
The statistics are derived from a combination of direct business enterprise /establishment surveys conducted by the Direct source and other government agencies, and other sources which are mainly administrative records such as banks' international transaction reporting systems and customs clearance data

Source Periodicity
Data are compiled quarterly (and in some cases monthly) on a transactions basis.

Key statistical concept
The balance of payments is a statistical statement that provides a systematic summary of economic transactions of an economy with the rest of the world, for a specific time period. The transactions are for the most part between residents and non-residents of the economy. The transactions included comprise: goods, services, and income; those involving financial claims on and liabilities to the rest of the world; and transfers. A transaction is defined as an economic flow that reflects the creation, transformation, exchange, transfer, or extinction of economic value and involves changes in ownership, of goods or assets, the provision of services, labour or capital.

Balance of payments data are compiled in accordance with the 5th edition of the Balance of Payments Manual published by the IMF (BPM5), and presented according to the Standard Presentation.
Related Links: IMF BOP Manual/Guides

Recommended uses and limitations
Balance of payments statistics are used as a key economic indicator due to the close relationship between domestic economic and external developments. This relationship has strengthened over the last two decades with the growing interdependence of the world's economies. Balance of payments and related trade and financial statistics are used by agencies responsible for the formulation of policy on issues such as causes of payments imbalances, adjustment measures, merchandise trade, trade in services, financial flows, financial stability and foreign direct investment, etc.

In principle as part of a double entry accounting system the balance of payments should balance, but as the components are independently derived from (many) different sources, they do not in practice balance. The residual imbalance is described by the term “net errors and omissions”.