Balance of Payments - Sources and Methods

The primary sources are the files from the IMF's Balance of Payments Statistics Yearbook. The methodology is described in the Fund's Balance of Payments Manual (fourth edition). Supplementary data, usually most recent estimates, are obtained from national sources or estimated by World Bank staff.

For long-term loans (net disbursements, gross disbursements, and repayments), data are reported to the World Bank's Debtor Reporting System (DRS). Any difference between the IMF balance of payments longterm capital and those in the DRS is shown as other long-term capital.

It is not yet possible to reconcile related measures in the sections on balance of payments, foreign trade, and national accounts. This reflects differences in definitions used, timing, recording, and valuation of transactions as well as the nature of basic data sources. Both general and country notes indicate classification and coverage issues that produce discrepancies. The Country Pages report related time series on international transactions in each section in order to help readers make their own judgments about how such discrepancies may affect the analytical purpose at hand.