This publication describes the conceptual framework of Australia’s balance of payments and international investment position statistics, and the data sources and methods used to compile them. Its purpose is to help users to understand the statistics. It explains what the statistics measure, how they may be interpreted, how they relate to other economic series, how they are produced, where they are published and why they are subject to varying degrees of accuracy and reliability.
This is the third edition of this publication, the second of which (published in 1990) has become dated. With the growing interest in the level of foreign investment and debt, more emphasis is placed on Australia’s international investment position, which is now seen as an integral part of the balance of payments framework. This latest edition also reflects the impact on the statistics of Australia’s adoption of the fifth edition of the International Monetary Fund’s Balance of Payments Manual (BPM5) and the third edition of the System of National Accounts (SNA93). These are international standards which are harmonised with each other, facilitating the relatability of these two bodies of statistics. Also, since 1990 there have been substantial changes to the presentation of the statistics, data sources and estimation methods, which are reflected in this edition.
The main Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) publications presenting balance of payments and international investment position statistics are the annual and quarterly publications (Cat. nos 5363.0 and 5302.0 respectively), both of which are titled Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia. Descriptions contained in this publication are consistent with statistics released in these publications as published for March quarter 1998.
From time to time, particular concepts, sources or methods used in compiling balance of payments and international investment position statistics are changed or modified in the light of reviews or other developments. The practice of advising users of these changes in the appropriate issues of publications (Cat. nos 5302.0 and 5363.0) will continue.
The ABS invites comments on the usefulness of this publication as a guide to Australian balance of payments and international investment position statistics. Such feedback will help in planning the content of future issues of this publication, and the descriptive material included in the regular statistical publications. Comments should be directed to:
Balance of Payments,
Australian Bureau of Statistics,
PO Box 10,
Belconnen ACT 2616.