With the exception of some variables concerning population and labour, the system shows all flows and stocks in monetary terms. The system does not attempt to determine the utility of flows and stocks. Instead, flows and stocks are measured according to their exchange value, i.e. the value at which flows and stocks are in fact, or could be, exchanged for cash. Market prices are thus the basic reference for valuation in the national accounts.
In the case of monetary transactions and cash holdings and liabilities, the values required are directly available. In most other cases, the preferred method of valuation is by reference to market prices for analogous goods, services or assets. This method is used for e.g. barter and the services of owner-occupied dwellings. When no market prices for analogous products are available, for instance in the case of non-market services produced by government, valuation should be made according to production costs. If neither of these two methods are feasible, flows and stocks may be valued at the discounted present value of expected future returns. However, due to the great uncertainty involved, this last method is only recommended as a last resort.
Stocks should be valued at current prices at the time to which the balance sheet relates, not at the time of production or acquisition of the goods or assets that form the stocks. It is sometimes necessary to value stocks at their estimated written-down current acquisition values or production costs.
Statistics using the definition
Validity of the definition