The balance of payments (BOP) is a statistical statement that summarises, for a specific time period, the economic transactions of the residents of an economy with the rest of the world.
The balance of payments presentation consists of three tables or accounts, the Current Account, the Capital Account and the Financial Account. The current account consists of trade in merchandise and services, as well as primary and secondary income account inflows and outflows. The capital account covers capital transfers and the acquisition and disposal of non-produced, non-financial assets. The financial account is concerned with transactions in foreign financial assets and liabilities, distinguishing the functional type of investment i.e. direct, portfolio and other investment (including transactions in financial derivatives) and reserve assets.
BOP transactions, in principle, should be recorded on an accruals basis using market valuation. In practice, the collection system (see below) is designed to adhere to this approach and, for the most part, the valuations reported are either market values or a close approximation.
For more detailed methodological information see Methodology Documents: BOP Quarterly Statistical Compilation Methodology Updated March 2018 (PDF 240KB)
The international investment position (IIP) is a point in time statistical statement of the value and composition of the stock of an economy’s foreign financial assets, or the economy’s claims on the rest of the world, and the value and composition of the stock of an economy’s financial liabilities (or obligations) to the rest of the world.
The IMF External Debt Manual defines external debt to be a point in time statistical statement of the value and composition of the stock of an economy’s gross foreign financial liabilities to the rest of the world. The liabilities referred to cover those arising from Irish residents issuing debt securities such as bonds, notes and money market instruments to non-residents, as well as any loans received from and outstanding to non-residents, and any trade payables due to non-residents. In essence, external debt refers to financial obligations to non-residents other than those arising from transactions in equity or financial derivative contracts.
For more detailed methodological information see Quarterly International Investment Position and External Debt - Background Notes (PDF 298KB)
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