Recent Trends in Global Balance of Payments and IIP Data

International Monetary Fund. Statistics Dept.
Published Date:
June 2015
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4. A growing number of economies submit external sector statistics to the IMF for redissemination. Annual balance of payments and IIP statistics for the period 2006–13 are published in the 2014 Balance of Payments Statistics Yearbook (2014 BOPSY). For the 2014 BOPSY, 189 economies submitted balance of payments data, of which 143 also submitted IIP data. The number of reporters of quarterly IIP data increased significantly, to 91 economies in 2014 from 82 in 2013. While country coverage has improved significantly, there is shortage of data coverage for Africa and a portion of Low Income Countries work under severe capacity constraints. A more simplified and streamlined approach to balance of payments/IIP data development in countries with low capacity could improve the accuracy and timeliness of their data and, therefore, increase the relevance for better analysis and policy advice.

5. According to data published in 2014 BOPSY, the global current account balance2 (reflecting the difference between current account receipts and payments) was consistently positive in 2007–13 (Appendix Table 1). It increased to $468 billion in 2013, compared to $431 billion in 2012. In 2013 (as in every year since 2008), the positive balance on goods trade (excess of exports over imports) has exceeded the positive balance on the current account. The balance on services trade was also positive in 2013, while the balances on primary and secondary incomes were negative. The global goods balance was $601 billion in 2013, up from $468 billion in 2012, and the global services balance was $63 billion in 2013, little changed from $64 billion in 2012.

6. The global financial account balance (Appendix Table 2) increased in 2013 to a positive $379 billion, from a positive $247 billion in 2012. These positive balances indicate that at the global level, net acquisitions of financial assets are overestimated and/or the net incurrence of liabilities is understated. In 2013, the balances on direct investment and portfolio investment were negative (excess of net incurrence of liabilities over net acquisitions of financial assets), while the balances on financial derivatives, other investment, and reserves minus liabilities constituting foreign authorities’ reserves were positive.

7. World IIP assets and liabilities increased from around $130 trillion each at end2012 to around $135 trillion each at end–2013 (Appendix Table 3), with small net (negative) balances of liabilities over assets in both years. The balances of IIP assets and liabilities for all economies and international organizations combined should be a net positive figure at the world level, by the value of holdings of gold bullion included in monetary gold.3 At the global level, balances may deviate from these amounts due to incomplete coverage, different timing, and asymmetric valuations.

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