5331.0 - Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2011  
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Contents >> Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia: Concepts, Sources and Methods



The balance of payments is one of Australia’s key sets of economic statistics. Put simply, the balance of payments measures the economic transactions between Australian residents and residents of the rest of the world. It also draws a series of balances between inward and outward transactions, provides an overall net flow of transactions between Australian residents and the rest of the world and reports how that flow is funded. Economic transactions include:

  • exports and imports of goods, such as agricultural products, minerals, other raw materials, machinery and transport equipment, computers, white goods and clothing;
  • exports and imports of services such as international transport, travel and business services;
  • income flows, such as dividends and interest earned by foreigners on investments in Australia and by Australians investing abroad;
  • financial flows, such as investment in shares, debt securities and loans; and
  • transfers, which are offsetting entries to any one-sided transactions listed above, such as foreign aid and funds brought by migrants to Australia.
Australia’s international investment position statistics measure the level (or stock) of foreign investment in Australia and Australian investment abroad at the end of a period. The difference between foreign investment in Australia and Australian investment abroad is referred to as Australia’s net international investment position. International investment position statistics may be split to show, separately, Australia’s foreign debt and equity investment. The latter provides a measure of the foreign ownership of Australian enterprises (through share holdings) and of Australian ownership of foreign enterprises. Viewed more broadly, the international investment position statistics provide a reconciliation of the stock of investment at two points in time.

This publication will be updated progressively, with the first instalment focusing on the Goods and Services Account. When completed this publication will provide, for Australia’s Balance of Payments and international investment position statistics, a comprehensive understanding of their:
  • Underlying conceptual framework;
  • Classification of data items;
  • Presentation and publication;
  • Data sources and methods;
  • Data quality; and
  • Relationship to broader economic statistics as defined in the system of national accounts.

The previous version of this concepts, sources and methods documentation was presented as a hard copy publication. This electronic version will provide greater flexibility, especially to clients interested in a specific component, and will enable the ABS to more promptly update the document. The ABS would appreciate feedback from clients on the usability of this product. Please send any comments to Peter Meadows on +61 2 625 23129 or peter.meadows@abs.gov.au.

The Australian Balance of Payments and International Investment Position concepts, sources and methods relies on the information that is recorded in internationally accepted standards coordinated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The content and structure of this publication reflect adherence to the standard (the sixth edition of the Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual, or BPM6) and sources much of its text from the manual. For the latest version of the BPM6 please refer to the IMF website.

    Structure of the Accounts (link not yet available)
    Standards and classifications (link not yet available)
    Publication (link not yet available)
    Accounting Principles (link not yet available)
    Economic territory and Residence (link not yet available)
    Institutional units and Institutional sectors (link not yet available)
    Data Quality (link not yet available)
    Emerging Issues (link not yet available)
    Models (link not yet available)

    Macroeconomics (link not yet available)

    Balance of Payments (link not yet available)
    Goods and Services Account
    Primary Income Account (link not yet available)
    Secondary Income Account (link not yet available)
    Capital Account (link not yet available)
    Financial Account (link not yet available)
    International Investment Position (link not yet available)

This section contains the following subsection :
      Goods and Services Account

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