Chapter

I. Introduction to the Manual

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund. Statistics Dept.
Published Date:
September 2000
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1. The purpose of the Monetary and Financial Statistics Manual (MFSM, or manual) is to offer guidelines for the presentation of monetary and financial statistics. In addition to their role in assisting in monetary policy formulation and monitoring, the statistics covered in this volume form a basis for the development of a statistical framework for assessing financial sector stability.

2. The MFSM first provides a set of tools for identifying, classifying, and recording stocks and flows of financial assets and liabilities. It then describes standard, analytically oriented frameworks in which the statistics may be presented and identifies a set of analytically useful aggregates within those frameworks. The International Monetary Fund (IMF, or the Fund) has designed the MFSM primarily to be useful to compilers of monetary and financial statistics, both experienced and aspiring, who are developing or updating their national statistics. It may also be useful to compilers, as well as users, of other macrostatistics in understanding the relationships among the various sets of macrostatistics.

3. The guidelines contained in the MFSM provide a conceptual framework for presenting monetary and financial statistics. For most, if not all, countries the implementation of the conceptual framework will require a long-term and flexible approach, and countries will have to set their own priorities for implementation. Because its focus is on concepts, the MFSM is not intended to be a compilation guide, and it therefore does not describe how the statistics are to be compiled—that is, it does not give sources or methods for compiling statistics—or give practical guidance on questions such as the frequency with which they are to be published. The Fund will provide detailed practical guidance based on the MFSM in its technical assistance and training work with member countries and in time might formalize this guidance in a companion publication. The MFSM also does not demonstrate how to use the statistics. Different countries use monetary and financial statistics in many different ways in varied settings, and case studies of uses also are left to course materials and other publications.

4. This is the first volume of its kind in the field of monetary and financial statistics. An earlier document, A Guide to Money and Banking Statistics in International Financial Statistics (IMF, December 1984), was not meant to provide guidelines for compiling and presenting statistics—rather, its purpose was to explain to users of International Financial Statistics (IFS) the methodology followed in producing money and banking data included in that publication. This new volume will take its place alongside the Fund’s other manuals—the Balance of Payments Manual and the Government Finance Statistics Manual (forthcoming). This manual focuses on stocks and flows for the financial corporations sector, just as the Balance of Payments Manual focuses on stocks and flows with the rest of the world, and the Government Finance Statistics Manual focuses on stocks and flows for the general government sector.

5. Like these other manuals, the MFSM is harmonized with the System of National Accounts 1993 (1993 SNA), The 1993 SNA—which was prepared as the joint responsibility of the Fund, the Commission of the European Communities, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United Nations, and the World Bank—provides an overarching set of tools for identifying, classifying, and recording stocks and flows related to production and to the distribution, redistribution, and use of income. Consistency in the application of these tools promotes comparability across the major sets of macrostatistics within a country and across countries. This comparability, in turn, promotes efficiency in data preparation, improves the analytical power of the various sets of macrostatistics, and provides understanding of statistics within and among countries.

6. Because the MFSM focuses on stocks and flows for the financial corporations sector, it may, for the most part, be seen as extending and elaborating on the 1993 SNA in this area; the MFSM will note any deviations from the 1993 SNA. Because the MFSM is part of a family of guidelines, the Fund encourages users to adhere to the guidelines in the interest of good practice and comparability. However, national differences and changes in financial markets—which in recent years have been rapid—necessitate that the guidelines must be interpreted flexibly. Moreover, the ongoing processes of financial innovation and globalization of financial markets mean that the Fund will need to update the guidelines periodically. In this respect, there are three areas of relevance to this volume where a consensus has yet to be reached on appropriate international guidelines. These areas relate to the treatment in macrostatistics of (1) accrued interest on traded securities, (2) repurchase agreements and securities lending, and (3) gold swaps and gold loans. Rather than being prescriptive, the MFSM simply summarizes the present thinking in each of these areas and will be updated after there is agreement on international guidelines.

7. The structure of the remainder of this volume is as follows:

  • Chapter 2 presents an overview, emphasizing the conceptual integrity of the presentation of monetary statistics and, more broadly, financial statistics.

  • Chapters 3 through 5 present the tools: the definition of institutional units and their grouping into sectors, the classification of financial assets, the derivation of stocks and flows, and the accounting rules to be followed.

  • Chapter 6 provides a lead-in to the framework presented in Chapter 7. It discusses the general characteristics of monetary aggregates and the treatment of specific assets within those aggregates, as well as credit and debt aggregates.

  • Chapter 7 presents the framework for monetary statistics, based on surveys for subsectors of the financial corporations sector that draw on standardized sectoral balance sheets.

  • Chapter 8 broadens the manual’s scope beyond the more traditional monetary statistics to include the full range of financial statistics, with particular emphasis on flow of funds accounts.

8. The MFSM also contains three appendices, the topics of which are as follows:

  • (1) The treatment of accounts with the IMF.

  • (2) Islamic banking.

  • (3) Illustrative sectoral balance sheets for financial corporations subsectors.

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