This article discusses different aspects and tables in the seventh Supplement of Balance of Payments Statistics. A balance of payments statement can be broadly described as the record of an economy's international economic transactions, that is, of the goods and services that an economy has received from, and provided to, the rest of the world, and of changes in the economy's claims on and liabilities to the rest of the world. The report highlights that for recent years the global current account figures contain a large discrepancy that implies either that surpluses are under-recorded, or deficits are over-recorded, or some combination of the two. The inconsistencies that give rise to the recorded current account asymmetry stem mainly from deficiencies in the balance of payments statements of individual countries covered in the statistics. The growth in the discrepancy is most noticeable for the category ‘other goods, services, and income’. The problem is still to be resolved, and therefore, considerable caution should be exercised when interpreting the statistics for the most recent years.
This paper presents the Supplement on international reserves, the sixth in the series of supplements to International Financial Statistics (IFS) that comprises textual material commencing with an historical perspective of international reserves. This is followed by a discussion on the methodology covering the concepts underlying the reserves data in IFS: the data collection and presentation procedures; the related data in the money and banking, and balance-of-payments sections in IFS; and a summary of the national concepts of reserves. Statistics on international reserves are important indicators of the external economic performance of countries. A country's holdings of international reserves represent its ability to meet balance of payments needs through official financial settlements. The establishment of the IMF led to the creation of a reserve asset in the form of a gold tranche position reflecting a member's subscription to the IMF in gold. To the extent that the IMF made use of a member's currency in drawings of other countries, a creation of new reserves was involved.