Balance of payments

The balance of payments (BOP) statistics describe the external stability of the economy in terms of both real and financial transactions and is part of the system of national accounts. The balance of payments is comprised of current, capital and financial accounts. The current account depicts the effects of foreign transactions, such as the trade in goods and services, primary income and secondary income, on the national income and on the balance between savings and investments in the economy. The capital account only contains capital transfers. The financial account describes how the surplus or the deficit in the current account is invested or financed to and from abroad, respectively. The financial account comprises changes in foreign direct investment, portfolio investment, other investment, financial derivatives and central bank reserve assets.
The instructions and recommendations of the International Monetary Fund Balance of Payments Manual (sixth edition of 2009) are applied in the compilation of the BOP statistics. Guidance is also provided by the European Central Bank (ECB) (financial account) and Eurostat (current account) in the EU and by the OECD (foreign direct investment).

Validity of the definition

  • Valid until (31 December 2078)

Source organisation

  • IMF