Flow-of-funds analysis at the ECB – framework and applications
The financial crisis has enhanced the need for close monitoring of financial flows in the economy of the euro area and at the global level focusing, in particular, on the development of financial imbalances and financial intermediation. In this context flow-of-funds analysis appears particularly useful, as flow-of-funds data provide the most comprehensive and consistent set of macro-financial information for all sectors in the economy. This occasional paper presents different uses of flow-of-funds statistics for economic and monetary analysis in the euro area. Flow-of-funds data for the euro area have developed progressively over the past decade. The first data were published in 2001, and fully-fledged quarterly integrated economic and financial accounts by institutional sector have been published since 2007. The paper illustrates how flow-of-funds data enable portfolio shifts between money and other financial assets to be assessed and trends in bank intermediation to be monitored, in particular. Based on data (and first published estimates) on financial wealth over the period 1980-2007, the paper analyses developments in the balance sheet of households and non-financial corporations in euro area countries over the last few decades and looks at financial soundness indicators using flow-of-funds data, namely debt and debt service ratios, and measures of financial wealth. Interactions with housing investment and saving are also analysed. In addition, the paper shows how flow-of-funds data can be used for assessing financial stability. Finally, the paper presents the framework for and use of flow-of-funds projections produced in the context of the Eurosystem staff macroeconomic projection exercises, and reports the outcome of a sensitivity analysis that considers the impact of interest rate changes on the interest payments and receipts of households and non-financial corporations. JEL Classification: E44, E47, E51.
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