Journal Issue

Special Topic: Balance of Payments Statistics

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
Published Date:
March 2002
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Marie Montanjees

The IMF Statistics Department has created a public website dedicated to disseminating information on balance of payments concepts, data, and related ongoing statistical work. The website ( is intended to provide easier access to data sources, information on methodology, as well as updates on various IMF initiatives aimed at improving the quality and timeliness of balance of payments and other external sector statistics.

The vast amount of information available on the IMF Balance of Payments website is organized into separate modules and is accessed through easy links. The contents of the major modules are described below.

  • Balance of Payments Committee: provides information on the activities of the IMF Committee on Balance of Payments Statistics, a group of expert data compilers established in 1992 to advise the IMF on methodological and compilation issues affecting balance of payments and international investment position statistics. The site publishes the annual reports of the committee and papers on the committee’s research activities, such as the statistical measurement of repurchase agreements, drug smuggling, travel expenditures, and shuttle trade.
  • Balance of Payments Newsletters: provides the IMF’s Balance of Payments Statistics Newsletter from 1995 to the present. The newsletter contains information on developments in balance of payments statistics taking place in different countries and in international organizations.
  • Balance of Payments Selected Publications: lists selected publications and working papers on balance of payments topics. The site includes links to the text of the IMF’s Balance of Payments Manual (BPM5), the Balance of Payments Compilation Guide, the Balance of Payments Textbook, and Financial Derivatives: A Supplement to BPM5.
  • Direct Investment Methodology: covers the IMF/OECD survey of data sources and methodological practices used to compile foreign direct investment (FDI) statistics, including the report on the 1997 survey that covered 114 countries. Reports on the 2001 update of the survey for the 30 OECD countries and selected non-OECD countries will be posted on the site shortly, as well as summary descriptions of the compilation practices, data sources, and methodology for specific countries.
  • External Debt Statistics: provides a link to the text of the interagency External Debt Statistics: Guide for Compilers and Users, which covers the measurement and presentation of external debt statistics and the compilation and analytical use of external debt statistics. The site also provides a link to the joint BIS/IMF/OECD quarterly external debt data obtained primarily from creditor and market sources.
  • Financial Derivatives: covers recent methodological developments in the derivatives area, including a link to the text of a working paper on the statistical measurement of financial derivatives.
  • International Reserves: covers the data on international reserves and foreign currency liquidity that are now prescribed for the Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS). The site includes links to (i) data for 43 IMF member countries, presented in the standard “template” format and in U.S. dollars and (ii) the text of the International Reserves and Foreign Currency Liquidity: Guidelines for a Data Template.
  • International Trade in Services: presents the text of the interagency Manual on Statistics of International Trade in Services. The manual was prepared to meet the needs of statistical compilers, governments, and international organizations that use statistical information on services trade in international negotiations, and of researchers and other users who wish to assess developments in international services markets.
  • Portfolio Investment: covers the IMF Coordinated Portfolio Investment Survey (CPIS), conducted by major investing countries to improve the reporting of portfolio investment data. The site provides information on the first CPIS in 1997 and publishes the text of the Coordinated Portfolio Investment Survey Guide (second edition), which sets out the definitions and classifications used for the second CPIS in 2001.

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