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What is the Accommodating Item in the Balance of Payments?


  • David Chaundy


Balance of payments accounts are constructed using a double-entry accounting principle such that total credits equal total debits. Modelling each entry independently will not guarantee this equality. It is therefore important to identify the counterpart entries or 'accommodating' items that ensure that total credits equal total debits. This short paper identifies the accommodating item for the UK by presenting institutional evidence on the means of payment for international transactions. The paper contributes to the debate about whether the net overseas assets of banks are determined by the non-bank private sector or by the banks themselves. It also sheds light on statistical attempts to measure the volatility of various investment flows. The conclusions of the paper are likely to apply to any developed country with a well-developed banking system.

Suggested Citation

  • David Chaundy, 1999. "What is the Accommodating Item in the Balance of Payments?," Working Papers wp122, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cbr:cbrwps:wp122
    Note: PRO-1

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:sae:niesru:v:131:y::i:1:p:52-56 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Davies, Gavyn, 1990. "The Capital Account and the Sustainability of the UK Trade Deficit," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(3), pages 28-39, Autumn.
    3. Nigel Pain & Peter Westaway, 1990. "Why the Capital Account Matters," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 131(1), pages 52-56, February.
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    More about this item


    Balance of payments; autonomous; accommodating; bank deposits; volatility;

    JEL classification:

    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
    • F40 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - General
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages


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