Abstract

Analysis of the balance of payments position of member countries represents a fundamental part of the International Monetary Fund's work. The importance of balance of payments statistics is reflected in Article VIII of the Second Amendment of the Articles of Agreement, which lists among “the minimum [information] necessary for the effective discharge of the Fund's duties, national data on … international balance of payments, including (1) trade in goods and services, (2) gold transactions, (3) known capital transactions, and (4) other items.”1 In order to guide member countries in reporting such data on an internationally comparable basis, the Fund has issued a series of manuals on the preparation of balance of payments statistics. These manuals contain a conceptual framework for balance of payments accounting and set forth detailed guidelines for the classification of particular items.