Chapter

Recent Trends in Global Balance of Payments and IIP Data

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund. Statistics Dept.
Published Date:
June 2014
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4. A growing number of economies submit external sector statistics to the IMF for re-dissemination. Annual balance of payments and IIP statistics for the period 2006–12 are published in the 2013 Balance of Payments Statistics Yearbook (2013 BOPSY). For the 2013 BOPSY, 184 economies submitted balance of payments data, of which 137 also submitted IIP data. The number of reporters of quarterly IIP data increased to 82 economies from 79 in 2012.

5. In general, at the global level, the balance of payments account balances for all economies and international organizations combined should be zero, whereas, in practice, the data do not equal zero. The balances are of interest to the Committee, as they are a symptom of estimation errors that, when large, could lead to policy mistakes. A number of factors contribute to the global balances (or to net errors and omissions). In particular, net errors and omissions arise from incomplete coverage, misclassifications, different timing, and asymmetric valuations.

6. According to data published in 2013 BOPSY, the global current account balance (reflecting the difference between current account receipts and payments) was consistently positive in 2006–12 (Appendix Table 1). It declined to $399 billion in 2012, compared to $409 billion in 2011. In 2012 (as in each of the past four years), the positive balance on goods trade has exceeded the positive balance on the current account. The balance on services trade was also positive in 2012, while the balances on primary and secondary incomes were smaller and negative. The global goods balance was $439 billion in 2012 (reported goods exports exceeded reported goods imports), compared to $425 billion in 2011, and the global services balance was $80 billion in 2012, compared to $101 billion in 2011.

7. The global financial account balance (Appendix Table 2) increased in 2012 to a positive $202 billion, from a positive $112 billion in 2011. These positive imbalances indicate that at the global level, net acquisitions of financial assets are overestimated and/or the net incurrence of liabilities is understated.

8. World2 IIP assets and liabilities increased from $123 trillion at end–2011 to $129 trillion at end–2012 (Appendix Table 3) with a small net (positive) balance of assets over liabilities. 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 a net positive figure due to the same reasons that were noted in the above discussion of balance of payment account balances, including incomplete coverage, misclassifications, different timing, and asymmetric valuations.

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