strsubcodechain Balance of Payments - Data and Methods
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Subjects > Balance of Payments

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Subject: Balance of Payments

Contact person/organisation

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

For countries compiling Balance of Payments Statistics in accordance with the 6th edition of the Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual published by the IMF (BPM6) - the list is provided below -, the transactions included comprise: the goods and services accounts, the primary income account (the income account in BPM5), the secondary income account (the transfers in BPM5), the capital account, and the financial account.

For countries compiling Balance of Payments statistics in accordance with the 5th edition on the Balance of Payments Manual, the transactions included comprise: goods, services, and income; those involving financial claims on and liabilities to the rest of the world; and transfers. Changes in BPM6 compared to BPM5 are often a consequence of a stricter application of the change of ownership principle in particular in the goods and services accounts. They relate to transactions on goods and services (merchanting, goods for processing, Insurance), income (investment income), and financial opérations (direct investment)

OECD country data presented according to the BPM6 format: Australia, Canada.

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".