IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Towards harmonised balance of payments and international investment position statistics – the experience of the European compilers


  • Jean Marc Israël
  • Carlos Sánchez Muñoz


External statistics – specifically balance of payments and international investment position statistics – are among the primary statistics on which policy-making bodies and markets rely as a basis for their decisions in globalised economies. Monitoring and enhancing data quality in the context of rapidly changing economies impose heavy constraints on compilers of these statistics. As it becomes increasingly important worldwide to adhere to a set of international statistical standards in order to ensure the comparability of statistics, the elaboration of meaningful EU/ euro area aggregates hinges critically on attaining a high degree of homogeneity across countries’ contributions. In addition to offering their own value for analysis, the euro area external statistics are the main source for the compilation of the rest-of-the-world account in the quarterly euro area (financial and nonfinancial) accounts. Bearing this in mind, a lot has been achieved since the inception of the euro area to harmonise concepts and definitions in line with international statistical standards, to review the data collection and compilation systems, as well as to enhance the overall data quality. However, asymmetries1 both across euro area countries and with counterparts elsewhere still need to be overcome. Additionally, new challenges lie ahead for compilers of statistics, with the steady process of globalisation and the increasing role of financial innovation (in terms of both new instruments and new institutional vehicles) observed in financial markets. While the compilation of euro area statistics continues to be based on country contributions, which are mostly derived from national collection systems in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, common tools are built up and maintained by the European Central Bank and national compilers. In particular, the Centralised Securities Database is playing a pivotal role in the move towards security-by-security reporting and should greatly enhance the quality of security-related information, i.e. portfolio investment flows, stocks and income. The tremendous work of European statisticians towards producing harmonised euro area statistics that are fit for purpose has also benefited statisticians elsewhere and is playing an important role in the current updating of international standards (the 1993 System of National Accounts and the International Monetary Fund’s Balance of Payments Manual, fifth edition). Statisticians have worked in close cooperation in various European fora to clarify concepts and identify best practices with a view to enhancing data quality and reducing the reporting burden. This paper aims to make this experience widely available.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean Marc Israël & Carlos Sánchez Muñoz, 2007. "Towards harmonised balance of payments and international investment position statistics – the experience of the European compilers," Occasional Paper Series 67, European Central Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbops:20070067

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Joseph Farrell & Garth Saloner, 1985. "Standardization, Compatibility, and Innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(1), pages 70-83, Spring.
    2. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Vehicle Currencies and the Structure of International Exchange," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 12(3), pages 513-526, August.
    3. Bamberg,James, 2000. "British Petroleum and Global Oil 1950–1975," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521259514, March.
    4. Hélène Rey, 2001. "International Trade and Currency Exchange," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(2), pages 443-464.
    5. Nienke Oomes, 2003. "Network Externalities and Dollarization Hysteresis; The Case of Russia," IMF Working Papers 03/96, International Monetary Fund.
    6. Hartmann,Philipp, 2007. "Currency Competition and Foreign Exchange Markets," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521046930, March.
    7. Goldberg, Linda S. & Tille, Cédric, 2008. "Vehicle currency use in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 177-192, December.
    8. Lotz, Sebastien & Rocheteau, Guillaume, 2002. "On the Launching of a New Currency," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 34(3), pages 563-588, August.
    9. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1991. "A contribution to the pure theory of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 215-235, April.
    10. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1989. "On Money as a Medium of Exchange," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 927-954, August.
    11. Oz Shy, 2011. "A Short Survey of Network Economics," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 38(2), pages 119-149, March.
    12. Farrell, Joseph & Klemperer, Paul, 2007. "Coordination and Lock-In: Competition with Switching Costs and Network Effects," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier.
    13. McKinnon, Ronald I., 1979. "Money in International Exchange: The Convertible Currency System," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195024098.
    14. Farrell, Joseph & Saloner, Garth, 1986. "Installed Base and Compatibility: Innovation, Product Preannouncements, and Predation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 940-955, December.
    15. De Santis, Roberto A., 2003. "Crude oil price fluctuations and Saudi Arabia's behaviour," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 155-173, March.
    16. A.F Alhajji & David Huettner, 2000. "OPEC and World Crude Oil Markets from 1973 to 1994: Cartel, Oligopoly, or Competitive?," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 31-60.
    17. Griffin, James M, 1985. "OPEC Behavior: A Test of Alternative Hypotheses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 954-963, December.
    18. Bamberg,James, 2000. "British Petroleum and Global Oil 1950–1975," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521785150, March.
    19. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1985. "Network Externalities, Competition, and Compatibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 424-440, June.
    20. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1993. "A Search-Theoretic Approach to Monetary Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 63-77, March.
    21. George Selgin, 2003. "Adaptive Learning and the Transition to Fiat Money," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(484), pages 147-165, January.
    22. Morris A. Adelman, 1993. "Modelling World Oil Supply," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 1-32.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbops:20070067. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Official Publications). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.