19.8.2022 valid documentation

Basic data of the statistics

Data description

The balance of payments refers to an accounts composition that systematically describes transactions between the national economy and the rest of the world during a certain time period from the perspectives of both real and financial economy. The balance of payments and international investment position are by definition congruent with the rest of the world sector in national accounts. 

The balance of payments covers transactions that are carried out between economic units belonging to the national economy (resident in Finland) and economic units belonging to another country (resident abroad). The balance of payments consists of current account, capital account and financial account. 

The international investment position describes the foreign asset and liability stocks generated from financial account capital flows. 

Statistical population

Institutional units belonging to the Finnish national economy. A unit is a resident unit of a country when it has a centre of predominant economic interest on the economic territory of that country, that is, when it engages for an extended period (one year or more) in economic activities on this territory. 

Statistical unit

The statistical unit is an institutional unit. 

An institutional unit is an economic entity characterized by decision-making autonomy in the exercise of its principal function. A resident unit is regarded as constituting an institutional unit in the economic territory where it has its centre of predominant economic interest if it has decision-making autonomy and either keeps a complete set of accounts or is able to compile a complete set of accounts. 

Unit of measure

The used unit of measure is EUR million. 

Flows and stocks are measured at monetary and current (market) prices. 

Reference period

In monthly data the reference period is T+44 from the end of a month. 

In quarterly data the reference period is T+82 from the end of a quarter. 

Reference area

The statistical reference area is the total economy of the country. 

Sector coverage

The balance of payments and international investment position cover all transactions and financial transactions of Finland's national economy units with foreign units. 

Time coverage

Data are available from the statistical year 2006 onwards. 

Frequency of dissemination

Data on balance of payments and international investment position are disseminated monthly, quarterly and annually. 

The monthly balance of payments is released some six weeks after the end of the statistical reference month. 

More detailed data on balance of payments, international investment position and gross foreign debt are published quarterly. Quarterly data are released approximately 2.5 months from the end of a  quarter. 

Annual data are completed nine months after the end of a year and are disseminated in connection with quarterly data. The annual data of the annual inquiry on direct investments and the inquiry on other services are completed by the autumn in the year following the statistical reference year when all basic data have been received. 

According to the ECB's and Eurostat's correction rhythm, all major corrections are carried out at the end of March and September. 

Concepts

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).

CIF-FOB conversion

Finnish Customs compiles statistics on imports of goods at CIF value. In balance of payments, imports of goods are at FOB value. To attain the FOB value, freight and insurance costs between the ports of loading and destination are deducted from imports of goods.

Capital account

The capital account covers capital transfers and the acquisition/disposal of non-produced non-financial assets.

Capital transfers

Capital transfers are composed of investment subsidies and other capital transfers (eg transfers of ownership of fixed assets and debt forgiveness). The bulk of capital transfers in Finland's balance of payments are investment subsidies, while other capital transfers are insignificant. Investment subsidies are mainly related to payments from the EU's structural and agricultural funds to private and public sectors.
Capital transfers statistics are based on administrative data, mainly central government financial statement information, available to Statistics Finland.

Central bank reserve assets

Central bank reserve assets are statistically compiled in accordance with the instructions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB). The reserve assets comprise monetary gold, special drawing rights (SDRs), the reserve position in the IMF and other reserve assets. Other reserve assets include currency and deposits, securities, financial derivatives and other claims. The exchange rate used is the spot rate prevailing at the value date, and the items are entered at market prices.

Data on reserve assets in the balance of payments are based on the Bank of Finland's book-keeping.

Compensation of employees

Compensation of employees is recorded when the employer (the producing unit) and the employee are resident in different economies. For the economy where the producing units are resident, compensation of employees is the total remuneration (including contributions paid by employers to social security schemes or to private insurance or pension funds), in cash or in kind, payable by resident enterprises to non-resident employees in return for work done by the latter during the accounting period. For the economy where the individuals are resident, compensation is the total remuneration, in cash or in kind, receivable by them from non-resident enterprises in return for work done during the accounting period. It is important to establish whether an employer-employee relationship exists; if not, the payment constitutes a purchase of services.

Current account

The current account shows flows of goods, services, primary and secondary income between residents and non-residents.

Deposits

Deposits are fixed-term or redeemable immediately on demand. They can be used to make payments, with no charges or limitations related to their use. Receivables in cash also belong to deposits. Information on interbank deposits needed for BOP purposes is derived from MFI balance sheet statistics. Interbank deposits are short-term by nature and large by volume and highly volatile.

As a result of the new statistical standards (ESA 2010), the line between deposits and loans changes so that there can no longer be loans between monetary financial institution (MFIs) - items previously recorded as loans between MFIs will now be recorded as deposits.

Direct investment

A direct investment relation exists between an investor and an object resident in another country when the investor has control (over 50% of the voting power) or influence (from 10% to 50%) over the object. The direction of the investment (inward or outward) is determined in the statistics on the basis of the direction of the control/influence between parties. Direct investment refers to financial transactions between entities in a direct investment relationship.

The capital of direct investments is divided into equity and debt-based items. The counter item of gains from reinvested earnings recorded in the current account is recorded in equity. Equity includes transactions with shares in corporations, share subscriptions in rights issues and other investment of basic capital. The debt-based capital of direct investments includes individual loans, leasing credits, deposits in consolidated accounts, subordinate loans comparable to equity, trade credits, accrued charges/credits and deferred credits/charges, bonds, and money market instruments. If both the creditor and debtor have other financial intermediation than insurance activities, only so-called perpetuals are classified as debt-based capital of direct investments.

The new statistical standards (BPM6/BD4) recommend that the receivables/liabilities principle is applied to direct investments in statistics on in balance of payments and international investment position. Similarly, the revised directional principle is recommended to be applied in connection with examinations of direct investments by country or sector. The revised directional principle separates investments between fellow enterprises and the direction of the direct investment relationship between fellow enterprises is determined by the residency of their ultimate controlling parent enterprise (UCP).

Errors and omissions

The errors and omissions in the balance of payments are the net of all biases and missing data. The errors and omissions are calculated as the difference between the sum of the current and capital accounts and the financial account in a given period. The errors and omissions are relatively larger in monthly and quarterly statistics than annually, because the timing differences disappear in the annual data to a great extent. The foreign transactions of large international companies have led to considerable volatility in statistics, and in an environment of monetary union the counterparts of their transactions are not necessarily reflected in Finland's balance of payment statistics. Timing differences in recording may also cause large errors and omissions or large consecutive errors and omissions of different signs.

Financial account

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 sub-items of other investments include loans and deposits, trade credits, other equity, SDR allocations, insurance, pension and standardised guarantee schemes, and other accounts receivable/payable. The sectoral breakdown conforms to the official classification applied, for example, in the system of national accounts.

Financial derivatives

Financial derivatives are financial instruments the price of which is determined by the value of another asset. Such an asset, ie the underlying asset, can in principle be any other product, such as a foreign currency, an interest rate, a share, an index or a commodity. Financial derivatives include various options, warrants, forward contracts, futures and currency and interest rate swaps.

The transactions related to financial derivatives and the corresponding stocks of assets and liabilities are compiled separately, detached from underlying assets. Capital flows arising from financial derivatives are recorded as gross changes, so their flow data are broken down into assets and liabilities. Payment flows (cash flows) resulting from contracts entered into with non-residents and materialised during the reference period are recorded in gross changes. Such flows include, for example, premiums paid at inception of standardised derivative contracts, interim payments made during the life of the contracts (non-repayable margin payments) and net value payments made at the close of the contracts, as well as all net payments between the parties related to non standardised contracts.

The stock data of financial derivatives are broken down into assets and liabilities. The asset stock is fined as the sum of derivative contracts with a positive market value, and the liabilities stock, in turn, as the sum of derivative contracts with a negative market value. The market value of a contract is positive for a Finnish reporting entity when its non-resident counterparty would have a net payment obligation vis-à-vis the Finnish reporting entity if the contract were to be settled immediately (ie at the end of the month). Conversely, the market value is negative when the domestic reporting entity would have a net payment obligation vis-à-vis its non-resident counterparty. The values of assets underlying derivative instruments are not recorded under derivative contract values.

Financial intermediation services indirectly measured (FISIM)

Actual interest can be considered as including both an income element and a charge for a service. Lenders and deposit takers operate by providing rates of interest to their depositors that are lower than the rates that they charge to their borrowers. The resulting interest margins are used by the financial corporations to defray their expenses and to provide an operating surplus. By convention, these indirect charges in respect of interest apply only to loans and deposits, and only when those loans and deposits are provided by, or deposited with, financial corporations.

General merchandise on a balance of payments (BOP) basis

The item General merchandise on a balance of payments (BOP) basis includes goods whose ownership is transferred between a domestic and foreign unit and that do not belong to another special category, such as goods under merchanting, non-monetary gold and are not part of a service. General merchandise is recorded at market value and is based on the free on board (FOB) principle.

Gold, non-monetary

Non-monetary gold covers all gold other than monetary gold. Monetary gold is owned by monetary authorities and held as a reserve asset. Non-monetary gold can be in the form of bullion (i.e. coins, ingots, or bars with a purity of at least 995 parts per 1,000, including such gold held in allocated gold accounts), gold powder, and gold in other unwrought or semi-manufactured forms.

Goods

This component covers moveable goods for which a change of ownership occurs between residents and non-residents. It includes the item general merchandise on a balance of payments (BOP) basis, net exports of goods under merchanting and non-monetary gold.

Insurance, pension and standardised guarantee schemes

Insurance, pension and standardised guarantee schemes items include

a) non-life insurance technical reserve;
b) life insurance and annuity entitlements;
c) pension entitlements, claims of pension funds on pension managers, and entitlements to non-pension funds;
d) provisions for calls under standardised guarantees.

International investment position

The international investment position (IIP) statistics illustrate the foreign asset and liability stocks accumulated as a result of financial account capital flows. The statistics are recorded at the end of the period.
The instructions and recommendations of the International Monetary Fund Balance of Payments Manual (sixth edition of 2009) are applied in the compilation of the IIP statistics. Guidance is also provided by the European Central Bank (ECB) in the EU and by the OECD (foreign direct investment).The IMF investment-type IIP classification separates direct investment, portfolio investment, other investment, financial derivatives and central bank reserve assets. The sub-items of other investments include loans and deposits, trade credits, other equity, SDR allocations, insurance, pension and standardised guarantee schemes, and other accounts receivable/payable. The sectoral breakdown conforms to the official classification applied, for example, in the system of national accounts.

Investment income

Investment income is derived from a resident's ownership of an external financial asset (credit) and symmetrically, income derived from a non-resident's ownership of a domestic financial asset (debit). Investment income includes income on equity (dividends, withdrawals from income of quasi-corporations, reinvested earnings) and on debt (interest), and investment income attributable to policyholders in insurance, pension schemes, and standardised guarantee schemes.
In balance of payments, investment income is also classified according to the function of the underlying investment, as direct investment, portfolio investment, other investment or reserve assets, and further detailed according to the type of investment.
Where they are separately identifiable, gains and losses on (capital) holdings are not classified as income on investments, but as changes in the value of investments due to market price developments. Net flows associated with interest rate derivatives are recorded solely under financial derivatives in the financial account.

Loans

Loans are bilateral credit agreements between the lender and the borrower and are non-marketable. Long-term leases are also included in loans. This type of financial leasing is a normal procedure in leasing ships and large machinery. Repurchase agreements on securities, ie repos, are recorded under this item in accordance with international accounting standards, although they are not loans from the legal point of view. Repo transactions correspond to collateralised loans in which securities originally owned by the seller are used in security for the loan. Private placement bonds also conceptually belong to the loan category.

As a result of the new statistical standards (ESA 2010), the line between deposits and loans changes so that there can no longer be loans between monetary financial institution (MFIs) - items previously recorded as loans between MFIs will now be recorded as deposits.

Loan drawdowns and redemptions are not separately compiled for Finland's BOP statistics, but loans are reported in the surveys as net changes (drawdowns less redemptions). Objects rented in financial leasing are recorded under goods trade and the rent under loans. Payments of rent are entered into redemptions and interest under interest on other investment.

Net exports of goods under merchanting

Merchanting is defined as the purchase of goods by a resident (of the compiling economy) from a non-resident, combined with the subsequent resale of the same goods to another non-resident without the goods being present in the compiling economy. Net exports of goods under merchanting represent the difference between sales over purchases of goods for merchanting. This item includes merchants' margins, holding gains and losses, and changes in inventories of goods under merchanting.

Other accounts receivables/payables

Other accounts receivables/payables include, for example, interbank claims and liabilities in payment transmission, term of payment-related claims and liabilities in securities transactions, insurance companies' reinsurance accounts payable and receivable as well as deposits, and corporate financing based on bills of exchange. Claims that cannot be recorded under any other BOP category are also recorded under other capital.

Other equity

The item Other equity includes capital investments (such as holdings in international organisations) that are not part of portfolio or direct investments.

Other investment

Other investments include loans and deposits, trade credits, other equity, SDR allocations, insurance, pension and standardised guarantee schemes, and other accounts receivable/payable.

Other primary income

Other primary income consist of taxes on production and imports, subsidies and rents for natural resources.

Portfolio investment

Portfolio investment is considered to include securities transactions not belonging to direct investment and reserve assets. Portfolio investment refers to securities transactions in which the ownership or voting power after the investment remains below 10%. As securities transactions are valued at market prices, capital gains realised in connection with a change of ownership are reflected in valuation adjustments between stocks and flows.

Securities traded are divided into equity and debt securities. Equity securities are shares, participations and mutual fund shares. Debt securities include bonds and money market paper.

Income generated from mutual funds' share holdings are divided into profits (dividends) and reinvested earnings. Reinvested earnings are included in the security investments in the financial account while profits (dividends) are included in the primary income in the current account.

Data on security investments are collected in the inquiry on foreign financial assets and liabilities and from data collections carried out by the Bank of Finland. The Bank of Finland collects data by security and in their classification use is made of the European Central Bank's centralised database on securities, which contains basic data on nearly all securities under active trading globally.

Primary income

Primary income represents the return that accrues to institutional units for their contribution to the production process, or for the provision of financial assets or from renting natural resources to other institutional units. It comprises compensation of employees, investment income and other primary income.

SDR allocations

The allocation of special drawing rights (SDRs) to IMF members is shown as a liability incurred by the recipient under SDRs in other investment. A corresponding entry is recorded under SDRs in reserve assets.

Secondary income

The secondary income account shows current transfers between residents and non-residents. A transfer is an entry that corresponds to the provision of a good, service, financial asset or other non-produced asset by an institutional unit to another institutional unit where there is no corresponding return of an item of economic value. Current transfers consist of all transfers that are not capital transfers. Current transfers are classified according to the institutional sector making or receiving the transfer in the compiling economy (general government or other sectors).
General government current transfers comprise current taxes on income, wealth, etc., social contributions, social benefits, current international cooperation, miscellaneous current transfers, VAT and GNI-based Union own resources.
Other sectors' current transfers comprise current taxes on income, wealth, etc., social contributions, social benefits, miscellaneous current transfers, net non-life insurance premiums, non-life insurance claims and adjustments for the changes in pension entitlements. Miscellaneous current transfers include personal transfer between resident and non- resident households (of which workers' remittances).

Services

Services are the result of a production activity that changes the conditions of the consuming units, or facilitates the exchange of products or financial assets. Services are not generally separate items over which ownership rights can be established and cannot generally be separated from their production. Services include the following items:
a) Manufacturing services on physical inputs owned by others
b) Maintenance and repair services not included elsewhere (n.i.e.)
c) Transport
d) Travel
e) Construction
f) Insurance and pension services
g) Financial services
h) Charges for the use of intellectual property n.i.e.
i) Telecommunications, computer, and information services
j) Other business services
k) Personal, cultural and recreational services
l) Government goods and services n.i.e.

Trade account

The trade account describes the balance of foreign trade in goods in terms of exports and imports.

Trade credits

Export claims and advances as well as import accounts payable and advances are classified under trade credits. Trade credits refer to trade credits related to goods and services trade, such as accounts payable, supplier credits (term of payment granted by foreign sellers), trade payables and advances received from foreign buyers for the current or future delivery of goods or services.

Trade credit data are collected in connection with surveys on the foreign assets and liabilities of companies and government bodies. The figures on trade credits, obtained from business surveys used for the regular, intra-year compilation of statistics, are increased according to their coverage, because exporters and importers considerably outnumber the companies relevant for financial transactions.

Accuracy, reliability and timeliness

Overall accuracy

The balance of payments is a set of statistics derived from several sources. Therefore, the quality of the source statistics is crucial for the reliability of the statistics. In order to maintain and improve the quality of balance of payments statistics, attention has been paid to defining practical inquiry frameworks and the accuracy of registers. Efforts have been made to take account of institutional changes in the financial markets and the non-financial corporations sector that affect the compilation of statistics. The correctness and accuracy of the data are examined regularly. 

The main detected sources of error are frame error and measurement error. Frame error is caused by the backwardness of registers when not all respondents are found, and measurement error when the respondents misinterpret the data supply requirement of the inquiry. Finnish statistics are sensitive precisely in terms of frame and measurement errors, because Finland has very large international enterprises compared to the size of the national economy. 

In accordance with the principles of double-entry accounts of the balance of payments, the sum of the components of the balance of payments, that is, current account, capital account and financial account, is zero. In practice, the total is usually a positive or negative figure. The errors and omissions in the balance of payments are the net of all biases and missing data. Computationally, the total sum of the summing up of entries is made artificially into zero with the error term, that is, the term is equal in absolute value but with different sign to the figure obtained as the result. The errors and omissions are relatively larger in monthly and quarterly statistics than annually, because the timing differences disappear in the annual data to a great extent. The foreign transactions of large international enterprises have led to considerable volatility in statistics, and in an environment of the monetary union the counterparts of their transactions are not necessarily reflected in Finland's balance of payment statistics. Timing differences in recording may also cause large errors and omissions or large consecutive errors and omissions of different signs. 

The data based on annual inquiries are estimated for the monthly and quarterly preliminary statistics of the statistical reference year. Thus, the acquisition of data is supplemented over time, which may lead to considerable revisions in the statistics. The biggest revisions have been caused by the introduction of non-financial corporations' profit distribution data and data on reinvested earnings only in the autumn of the year following the statistical reference year. Finnish Customs gradually corrects monthly data on international trade until the spring of the year following the statistical reference year.  

Timeliness

The monthly balance of payments is released some six weeks after the end of the statistical reference month. 

Quarterly data are released approximately 2.5 months from the end of a quarter. 

Annual data are completed nine months after the end of a year and are disseminated in connection with quarterly data.

Punctuality

There was not any time lag between calendar date of publication and date of official publication (in this publication).

Comparability

Comparability - geographical

The data on balance of payments and international investment position are geographically comparable due to international statistical standards. 

Data on balance of payments and international investment position are classified by country. There may be statistical asymmetries between two countries due to differences in data sources in various countries, for example. Efforts are made to reduce these asymmetries in cooperation with other countries. 

Comparability - over time

The balance of payments has been compiled in accordance with the present BPM 6 Manual starting from the statistical reference year 2013. The statistical reference years prior to this have been compiled in accordance with the BPM 5 Manual, but they have been converted by statistical methods in line with the new compilation method.  

Coherence - cross domain

The definitions and coverage of balance of payments, as defined in the BPM6 Manual, are fully harmonised with those in ESA 2010. Therefore, balance of payments variables are in principle fully coherent with the corresponding national accounts variables. National accounts and balance of payments compilation systems are integrated, and the data are mainly congruent from 2019 and from 2020 onwards for financial accounts. The most significant differences are related to recording of financial derivatives and income taxes from secondary income. 

The international trade statistics published by Finnish Customs differ by definition from international trade in balance of payments terms. The international trade statistics measure international trade across borders and changes in ownership of vessels, while the balance of payments measures changes in ownership. 

Coherence - internal

The balance of payments and international investment position are consistent with international trade in goods and services, foreign direct investments and national accounts.

Source data and data collections

Source data

Direct data collection, administrative data and data derived from other statistics are used to compile the balance of payment statistics. The most significant source data are data on goods trade obtained from Finnish Customs, data collections of the balance of payments, the tourism balance produced by Statistics Finland, and data from the Bank of Finland and the Financial Supervisory Authority. 

The current account data are mainly based on four data sources: the international trade statistics, the inquiry on international trade in services and international flows of goods, the inquiry on financial assets and liabilities, and data derived from national accounts. Other data are produced by statistical methods based on several data sources. 

Finnish Customs collects data on international trade in goods across borders and on some changes in vessel ownership. Statistics Finland's inquiry on international trade in services and international flows of goods collects data on international trade in services by Finnish enterprises and corporations and on goods trade that does not cross the Finnish border. The data on international trade are supplemented with data derived from national accounts and estimates of international trade by Finnish private persons. 

Data on Finland's cross-border trade with countries outside the EU are derived from the customs clearance system. Statistical data are reported monthly by importers and exporters to Finnish Customs concerning cross-border trade inside the EU according to the Intrastat system.  

The sample size of the quarterly inquiry on international trade in services and international flows of goods is around one thousand units and that of the annual inquiry about two thousand units. The quarterly inquiry is raised to correspond to the population, based on the shares of the previous completed annual inquiry. Stratified random sampling (SRS or PPS) is used in the annual inquiry depending on the stratum. 

Primary income consists of compensation of employees, investment income and other primary income. The data on compensation of employees are based on the income tax data received from the Tax Administration, investment income on balance of payments data collection and on the Bank of Finland's source data, and other primary income on central government's bookkeeping and national accounts tax calculations. The data on secondary income and capital balance are mainly derived from sector accounts.  

The current account data that cannot be obtained monthly are estimated by statistical methods for the months and they are forecast until quarterly or annual data are available. 

For the financial account and international investment position, data are obtained from the following inquiries: 
1. Statistics Finland's quarterly inquiry on financial assets and liabilities 
2. Statistics Finland's annual inquiry on foreign financial assets and liabilities 
3. Statistics Finland's data collection on employment pension schemes' assets 
4. Bank of Finland’s inquiry for deposit banks and investment firms providing securities account and asset management services 
5. Bank of Finland's inquiry on security-based assets and liabilities for non-financial corporations, financial corporations, and central government  
6. Bank of Finland's data collection for monetary financial institutions 
7. Bank of Finland's balance sheet data collection for investment funds 
8. Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority’s Solvency II data collection 

The basic principle of the statistical system is an inquiry directly from the data source, i.e., the institutional units making investment and financing decisions. Balance of payments inquiries are by nature total surveys from which small enterprises have been left out. Small enterprises are taken into account by methodological means. 

The data on financial assets and liabilities obtained from quarterly sources are estimated to the monthly level utilising previous quarterly data. Monthly data are updated when the quarterly data are completed. 

The frameworks for the inquiries of the non-financial corporations sector are defined based on Statistics Finland's Business Register. The Business Register contains data on around 300,000 corporations and a note on foreign ownership. In addition, the register includes a list of enterprises that have foreign affiliates. The frameworks are complemented with the balance sheet data of the 15,000 largest enterprises derived from the Tax Administration and data received from the surveys. The sampling method used for the inquiries is cut-off sampling. The balance of payments inquiries of the non-financial corporations sector include enterprises whose foreign assets and liabilities are estimated to be highest based on these data sources. In practice, in recent years, the quarterly inquiry has covered around 90 to 140 enterprises and the annual inquiry a total of some 1,000 to 1,200 enterprises. 

Other financial sector actors not included in the definitions of monetary financial institutions and mutual funds are selected for balance of payments inquiries with the help of the Financial Supervision Authority's data, the Tax Administration's balance sheet data and the Business Register in the same way as in the case of the non-financial corporations sector. 

Data collection

The balance of payments and international investment position are compiled from several sources. The sources are direct data collections, administrative files, data derived from statistics or estimated from other sources. 

More information: Data collection methods | Statistics Finland (stat.fi)

Frequency of data collection

Data of the monthly frequency of balance of payments and international investment position: 
  • International trade in goods 
  • Bank of Finland’s inquiry for deposit banks and investment firms providing securities account and asset management services 
  • Bank of Finland’s inquiry on securities-based assets and liabilities to enterprises, financial and insurance corporations, and central government  
  • Bank of Finland's data collection for monetary financial institutions 
  • Bank of Finland's balance sheet data collection for investment funds 

Data of the quarterly frequency of balance of payments and international investment position: 
  • Quarterly inquiry on international trade in services and international flows of goods  
  • Tourism balance 
  • Statistics Finland's Quarterly inquiry on financial assets and liabilities  
  • Statistics Finland's data collection on employment pension schemes’ assets 
  • Financial Supervision Authority's Solvency II data collection 
 
Data of the annual frequency of balance of payments and international investment position: 
  • Annual inquiry on international trade in services and international flows of goods  
  • Statistics Finland’s annual inquiry on foreign financial assets and liabilities 

Methods

Data compilation

The balance of payments and international investment position utilise data ready for analysis as sources. 

Data validation

The data are validated according to the statistical production process in two stages. Statistics Finland's data collection unit is responsible for checking the unit data of the balance of payments' own data collections. The checked data are delivered to the balance of payments system for analysis purposes. As a rule, the data obtained from the external sources of the balance of payments and international investment position are ready for analysis, so the revision stage is not performed. 

Each source data is analysed on an aggregated level. After this, the approved source data are combined and analysed as a whole. If deviating changes or values are detected in the analysis stage, the reason for them is determined and the deviation in question is returned to the unit level check if necessary. 

During both checking stages, Statistics Finland ensures consistency with other available statistical data both on the unit level and on the publication level. 

Principles and outlines

Contact organisation

Statistics Finland

Contact organisation unit

Economic statistics

Legal acts and other agreements

The compilation of statistics is guided by the Statistics Act. The Statistics Act contains provisions on collection of data, processing of data and the obligation to provide data. Besides the Statistics Act, the Data Protection Act and the Act on the Openness of Government Activities are applied to processing of data when producing statistics. 

Statistics Finland compiles statistics in line with the EU’s regulations applicable to statistics, which steer the statistical agencies of all EU Member States.  

Further information: Statistical legislation | Statistics Finland (stat.fi)

Balance of payments statistics are based on Finland's statutory obligations to produce and report balance of payment statistics to the European Central Bank (ECB) (ECB's guidelines ECB/2011/23) and to Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Union (Regulation No 184/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Commission Regulation No 555/2012), as well as to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). 

The instructions and recommendations of the IMF's Balance of Payments Manual (6th edition, 2009) are applied to the compilation of statistics on balance of payments and international investment position. 

The Bank of Finland is obliged to deliver the data on the statistics on balance of payments and international investment position to the European Central Bank to the extent required by Guideline ECB/2011/23 of the ECB. Statistics Finland compiles these data. In addition, the Bank of Finland delivers statistical data for the compilation of balance of payments and international investment position. This statistical collaboration has been agreed upon in a cooperation agreement between the Bank of Finland and Statistics Finland. 

Confidentiality - policy

The data protection of data collected for statistical purposes is guaranteed in accordance with the requirements of the Statistics Act (280/2004), the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999), the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 and the Data Protection Act (1050/2018). The data materials are protected at all stages of processing with the necessary physical and technical solutions. Statistics Finland has compiled detailed directions and instructions for confidential processing of the data. Employees have access only to the data essential for their duties. The premises where unit-level data are processed are not accessible to outsiders. Members of the personnel have signed a pledge of secrecy upon entering the service. Violation of data protection is punishable. 

Further information: Data protection | Statistics Finland (stat.fi)

The compilation of statistics is also steered by the European Union's Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics, the Regulation on the European statistical programme 2013 to 2017 (99/2013) (extended to 2020) and numerous statistics-specific regulations. 

Confidentiality - data treatment

The data materials are protected at all stages of processing with the necessary physical and technical solutions. Unit-specific data of the calculation data must be kept undisclosed. 

Data are handled only by persons who need the data in their work. The use of data is restricted by usage rights. The aggregation of data in the process, the compilation-time evaluation related to data quality, detailed prioritisation of sources and measures related to total level balancing produce a result that does not enable identification of individual data producers. 

The basic publications of balance of payments and international investment position follow Statistics Finland's official guidelines on the protection of tabulated personal and enterprise data based on the principles of statistical ethics and legislation. The key guideline in data protection activities is to avoid publishing statistical data in a form from which an individual person or enterprise can be identified. 

The statistics do not contain data decreed public by law at unit level, so the disclosure risk must be taken into account when compiling tables. 

The threshold and dominance criteria are used when assessing the disclosure risk. The threshold criterion is based on data obtained directly from enterprises or imputed data. According to the rule, the data of a cell must be protected if the cell comprises a lower number of observations than the threshold value. In the dominance criterion, data are protected if the sum of the data of the main data suppliers does not differ sufficiently from the published data. 

Data on protected cells are not published but suppressed. The rules are used for primary and secondary suppression. 

In primary suppression an individual cell is protected by suppression if the group value is based on under three observations or the data on an individual enterprise do not differ sufficiently from the published value. Secondary suppression is performed so that the contents of the cell to be protected cannot be calculated using the values of other cells. 

All persons compiling the balance of payments and international investment position have signed a pledge of secrecy, where they have obliged to keep secret the data prescribed as confidential by virtue of the Statistics Act or the Act on the Openness of Government Activities. 

Release policy

Statistics Finland publishes new statistical data at 8 am on weekdays in its web service. The release times of statistics are given in advance in the release calendar available in the web service. The data are public after they have been updated in the web service. 

Further information: Publication principles for statistics | Statistics Finland (stat.fi) 

The data of the statistics on balance of payments and international investment position are published monthly and quarterly. 

Data sharing

The data for the statistics on balance of payments and international investment position are delivered at aggregate level following the confidentiality principle to the European Central Bank (ECB), Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Union, the OECD, the IMF, the World Bank, and the UN. The organisations publish the data of the statistics in several printed and Internet publications. 

Accessibility and clarity

Statistical data are published as database tables in the StatFin database. The database is the primary publishing site of data, and new data are updated first there. When releasing statistical data, existing database tables can be updated with new data or completely new database tables can be published.   

In addition to statistical data published in the StatFin database, a release on the key data is usually published in the web service. If the release contains data concerning several reference periods (e.g., monthly and annual data), a review bringing together these data is published in the web service. Database tables updated at the time of publication are listed both in the release and in the review. In some cases, statistical data can also be published as mere database releases in the StatFin database. No release or review is published in connection with these database releases. 

Releases and database tables are published in three languages, in Finnish, Swedish and English. The language versions of releases may have more limited content than in Finnish.   

Information about changes in the publication schedules of releases and database tables and about corrections are given as change releases in the web service.

The statistical releases and statistical database updates of the statistics on balance of payments and international investment position are published on Statistics Finland's website. Data users can subscribe to emails concerning releases on desired topics (so-called news notification service). 

Balance of payments and international investment position | Statistics Finland (stat.fi)

The releasing of topical news, such as news contents, is decided on a case-by-case basis. The channels of topical news are: 
Statistics Finland (stat.fi)
Tilastokeskus - Tilastotohtori | Facebook (facebook.com)
Statistics Finland | Twitter (twitter.com)

Data revision - policy

Revisions – i.e., improvements in the accuracy of statistical data already published – are a normal feature of statistical production and result in improved quality of statistics. The principle is that statistical data are based on the best available data and information concerning the statistical phenomenon. On the other hand, the revisions are communicated as transparently as possible in advance. Advance communication ensures that the users can prepare for the data revisions.

The reason why data in statistical releases become revised is often caused by the data becoming supplemented. Then the new, revised statistical figure is based on a wider information basis and describes the phenomenon more accurately than before. 

Revisions of statistical data may also be caused by the calculation method used, such as annual benchmarking or updating of weight structures. Changes of base years and used classifications may also cause revisions to data.

Quality assessment

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF) are a comprehensive collection of statistics describing the development and state of society. They comprise nearly 300 sets of statistics on 26 different topics. The producers of Official Statistics of Finland have approved a common quality assurance in which they commit to common quality criteria and quality assurance measures. The quality criteria of Official Statistics of Finland are compatible with the European Statistics Code of Practice. The good practices followed in the statistics are presented in Statistics Finland's Quality Guidelines for Official Statistics handbook. 

Quality assurance

Quality management requires comprehensive guidance of activities. The quality management framework of the field of statistics is the European Statistics Code of Practice (CoP). The frameworks complement each other. The quality criteria of Official Statistics of Finland are also compatible with the European Statistics Code of Practice. 

Further information: Quality management | Statistics Finland (stat.fi)

User access

Data are released to all users at the same time. Statistical data may only be handled at Statistics Finland and information on them may be given before release only by persons involved in the production of the statistics concerned or who need the data of the statistics concerned in their own work before the data are published. 

Further information: Publication principles for statistics | Statistics Finland (stat.fi)

Unless otherwise separately stated in connection with the product, data or service concerned, Statistics Finland is the producer of the data and the owner of the copyright. The terms of use for statistical data.

Statistics that affect capital and financial markets: The Act on the Openness of Government Activities (Section 24, Paragraph 1, Sub-paragraph 31) prescribes those statistics describing the development of the national economy and other documents containing data that apparently could have an effect on the capital and financial markets are secret before the data are published. For these statistics, statistics-specific lists are maintained on the persons that have the right to handle the data. 

In special cases data can be released before the official release under the so-called embargo principle. These situations are such as data releases based on EU regulations or agreements to Eurostat, the European Central Bank, or the Bank of Finland, and releasing of data based on separate agreements to other authorities producing statistics and other producers of official statistics for the compilation of a publication that is released after Statistics Finland's release, or for mandatory EU reporting. In such cases, the data must be indicated as confidential until their release (the embargo principle, i.e., the recipient may not publish the data before the agreed time). 

Statistical experts

Marianna Mukkulainen
Senior Statistician
029 551 3405

Are you looking for previously published documentation?

The documentation released before 5.4.2022 can be found on the archive pages of the statistics.

Go to the archive page