Chapter

Recent Trends in Global Balance of Payments and IIP Data

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund. Statistics Dept.
Published Date:
February 2016
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4. A growing number of economies submit external sector statistics to the IMF for re-dissemination. Annual balance of payments and IIP statistics for the period 2007–14 are published in the 2015 Balance of Payments Statistics Yearbook (BOPSY 2015). For the BOPSY 2015, 191 economies submitted balance of payments data, of which 150 also submitted IIP data. The number of reporters of quarterly IIP data increased significantly, to 103 economies in 2015 from 91 in 2014. While country coverage has improved significantly, there is a shortage of data coverage for Africa, and several low income countries work under severe capacity constraints. A more simplified and tailored approach to the development of balance of payments and IIP data in countries with low capacity could improve the accuracy and timeliness of their data and, therefore, increase the relevance for better analysis and policy advice.

5. According to data published in BOPSY 2015, the global current account balance2 (reflecting the difference between current account receipts and payments) was consistently positive in 2008–14 (see BOPSY 2015, Table A-1). It decreased by five percent to $369.7 billion in 2014, compared to $388.5 billion in 2013. In 2014 (as in every year since 2008), the positive balance on goods trade (excess of exports over imports) has exceeded the positive balance on the current account. The balance on services trade was also positive in 2014, while the balances on primary and secondary incomes were negative. The global current account balance represents 0.6 percent of the total gross current transactions in 2014 (see figure 1).

Figure 1.Global Balances on Current Account

(In billions of U.S. dollars)

6. The global financial account balance increased by 46 percent in 2014 to a positive $418.6 billion, from a positive $287.4 billion in 2013 (see BOPSY 2015, Table A-1). These positive balances indicate that at the global level, the net acquisition of financial assets is overestimated and/or the net incurrence of liabilities is understated (see figure 2). In 2014, the balances on direct investment, portfolio investment and financial derivatives were negative, while the balances on other investment and reserves were positive.

Figure 2.Global Assets and Liabilities

(In billions of U.S. dollars)

7. World IIP assets increased by 0.5 percent from $140.5 trillion at end–2013 to around $141.1 trillion at end–2014, and IIP liabilities by 1.5 percent from $141.5 to $143.7 trillion respectively (see BOPSY 2015, Table E-2), with net (negative) balances of liabilities over assets in both years (see BOPSY 2015, Table E-1). The balances of IIP assets and liabilities for all economies and IOs combined should be a net positive figure at the world level, by the value of holdings of gold bullion included in monetary gold.3 At the global level, balances may deviate from these amounts due to incomplete coverage, different timing, and asymmetric valuations.

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