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BALANCE SHEETS DATA 
ACCORDING TO NATIONAL 
ACCOUNTS: PRESENT AND 
FUTURE AVAILABILITY, USE 
AND ABUSE 
Strategic Forum 
Rome, September 22 – 23, 2014 
Peter van de Ven 
Head of National Accounts, OECD
On Statistics … 
•“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, 
and statistics” (Benjamin Disraeli) 
2
On Statistics … 
•“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, 
and statistics” (Benjamin Disraeli) 
•“An unsophisticated forecaster uses statistics as 
a drunken man uses lamp-posts - for support 
rather than for illumination” (Andrew Lang) 
3
Introduction 
• General overview of availability of balance sheets data 
• G20 Data Gaps Initiative 
• Implementation issues 
• Indicators: use and abuse 
• Accounting for vulnerabilities and economic sustainability 
• Going forward: what more do we need? 
Plea for implementing system of agreed balance sheets, and 
making full and “appropriate” use of the data 
4
Present availability 
• International standards for national accounts (SNA 2008 
and ESA 2010) lay out a full and consistent framework for 
balance sheets, including transactions 
• Lot of information is actually already available, first and 
foremost in relation to quarterly and annual information on 
financial transactions and positions 
• Especially in EU, quite some progress has been made in 
developing quarterly data (nowadays available 90 – 120 
days after the end of the quarter) 
• Also in other OECD-countries 
5
G20 Data Gaps Initiative 
• Economic and financial crisis showed some gaps in 
the compilation and publication of statistical data, 
especially in relation to risks and vulnerabilities 
• In 2009, a set of recommendations has been put 
forward to address the main data gaps, the so-called 
G20 Data Gaps Initiative (DGI): 
– Better capture the build-up of risk in the financial sector 
– Improve data on international financial network connections 
– Monitor the vulnerability of domestic economies to shocks 
– Improve the communication of official statistics 
6
G20 Data Gaps Initiative 
• Core recommendation from macro-economic 
perspective: recommendation 15 on institutional sector 
accounts: “… to develop a strategy to promote the 
compilation and dissemination of the balance-sheet 
approach (BSA), flow-of-funds, and sectoral data more 
generally, starting with the G-20 economies. Data on 
nonbank financial institutions should be a particular 
priority. The experience of the ECB and Eurostat within 
Europe and the OECD should be drawn upon” 
• Templates for collection of balance sheet data, driven 
by the example of EU and other OECD-countries, also 
part of SDDS Plus requirements of IMF 
7
8 
Sector details, quarterly 
Non-financial corporations (S11) 
Of which: Public non- financial corporations 
Financial corporations (S12) 
Monetary financial institutions (S121+S122 +S123) 
Central bank (S121) 
Other depository-taking corporations (S122) 
Money- market funds (S123) 
Insurance corp. and pension funds (S128+ S129) 
Insurance corp. (S128) 
Pension funds (S129) 
Other financial corporations (S124+ S125+ S126+ S127) 
Of which: Non-money market investment funds (S124) 
Of which: Other financial intermediaries except insurance and pensions (S125) 
Of which: Financial Auxiliaries (S126) 
Of which: Captive financial institutions and money lenders (S127) 
Of which: Public financial corporations 
General government (S13) 
Of which: General Government Social Security (S1314) 
Households and NPISHs (S14+S15) 
Households (S14) 
NPISH (S15) 
Rest of the World (S2) 
Minimum 
Encouraged
9 
Instrument details, quarterly (1/2) 
F1 Monetary gold and SDRs 
F11 Monetary gold 
F12 SDRs 
F2 Currency and deposits 
Of which: Domestic currency 
F21 Currency 
F22 Transferable deposits 
F221 Interbank positions 
F229 Other transferable deposits 
F29 Other deposits 
F3 Debt securities 
Of which: Domestic currency 
F31 Short-term 
F32 Long-term 
With remaining maturity of one year and less 
With remaining maturity of more than a year 
F4 Loans 
Of which: Domestic currency 
F41 Short-term 
F42 Long-term 
With remaining maturity of one year and less 
With remaining maturity of more than a year 
Minimum 
Encouraged
10 
Instrument details, quarterly (2/2) 
F5 Equity and investment fund shares 
F51 Equity 
F511 Listed shares 
F512 Unlisted shares 
F519 Other equity 
F52 Investment fund shares/units 
F521 Money market fund shares/units 
F522 Non MMF investment fund shares/units 
F6 Insurance, pension and standardized guarantee schemes 
F61 Non-life insurance technical reserves 
F62 Life insurance and annuity entitlements 
F63+F64+F65 Retirement entitlements 
F63 Pension entitlements 
F64 Claim of pension fund on pension managers 
F65 Entitlements to non-pension benefits 
F66 Provisions for calls under standardized guarantees 
F7 Financial derivatives and employee stock options 
F71 Financial derivatives 
F711 Options 
F712 Forwards 
F72 Employee stock options 
F8 Other accounts receivable/payable 
Of which: Domestic currency 
F81 Trade credits and advances 
F89 Other accounts receivable/payable 
Minimum 
Encouraged
11 
Non-financial assets, annually 
AN1 Produced non-financial assets 
AN11 Fixed assets 
of which, 
AN111 Dwellings 
AN112 Other buildings and structures 
AN12 Inventories 
AN13 Valuables 
AN2 Non-produced non-financial assets 
AN21 Natural resources 
of which, 
AN211 Land 
of which, 
AN. 2111 Land underlying buildings and structures 
AN212 Mineral and energy reserves 
AN22 Contracts, leases and licenses 
AN23 Goodwill and marketing assets 
Minimum 
Encouraged
Implementation issues 
• Measurement of non-financial assets, especially non-produced, 
non-financial assets (land, natural resources, 
etc.) 
• Not all types of risks and vulnerabilities can be captured 
with agreed templates, e.g. interconnectedness => 
“from-whom-to-whom” tables or “flow of funds” 
• Only available in developed countries, not always on a 
quarterly basis 
• However, economic and financial crisis has created a 
momentum for further development 
• Other (conceptual) issues => later
Indicators: use and abuse 
• From the framework, various indicators can be derived: 
– Debt to income ratios 
– Debt to assets ratios 
– Etc. 
• Which indicators are the most appropriate? 
• Example: General Government Gross Debt
A Simple Comparison 
A reasonably sophisticated user has taken a look at various 
sources: 
•Eurostat, Tables on Government Finance 
•IMF, Government Finance Statistics (market value and face 
value) 
•IMF, World Economic Outlook 
•OECD, National Accounts at a Glance 
•OECD, Economic Outlook 
14
15 
Government Debt 2010 
Differences between highest and lowest result, in %-points of GDP
Coverage of instruments 
• General definition of gross debt: a specific subset of 
liabilities … that require payment or payments of interest 
or principal by the debtor to the creditor at a date or dates 
in the future (22.104). 
• All liabilities except shares, equity and financial derivatives 
– Monetary gold and SDRs 
– Currency and deposits 
– Debt securities 
– Loans 
– Insurance, pension and standardized guarantee schemes 
– Other accounts payable 
16
Coverage of instruments 
• However, several other definitions are being used 
• Maastricht debt: 
– Currency and deposits 
– Debt securities 
– Loans 
• Sometimes only loans and debt securities are covered 
• Most substantial impact: pension liabilities 
17
Valuation and consolidation 
• Different valuation concepts: 
– Market prices (according to SNA) 
– Nominal value (e.g. Maastricht definition) 
– Face value 
• Consolidated versus non-consolidated data 
• Other differences: differences in sources, lack of 
alignment to international standards, sometimes even 
differences due to reporting agency 
18
• Improvement of data according to agreed definition 
• Inclination to prefer being “exactly wrong” instead of 
“approximately right” 
• Focus on single indicators drives poor policy: 
– Gross Debt and Investments 
– Pension reforms 
– Creative accounting: impact on numbers more important than 
economic rationale (PPPs, sale and lease back constructions, 
taking over pension liabilities of public corporations) 
• Single indicators are, almost by definition, a simplification 
of economic reality 
19 
Impact of Excessive Deficit Procedure
Going beyond 
• Need to account for pension liabilities and contingent 
liabilities 
• Need for additional indicators on Net Government Debt 
=> various definitions proposed: 
– Including liquid assets only 
– Including similar instruments as the ones on the liabilities side 
– Including all financial assets (including shares and other equity) 
– Including financial assets as well as non-financial assets => net 
worth => also raises the question of which expenditures to be 
considered as investments 
• Finally, need for more “story-telling” on the interpretation 
of government debt data (e.g. the impact of differences 
in pension arrangements across countries) 20
Accounting for vulnerabilities and 
economic sustainability 
• Various forms of vulnerabilities or risks: 
– Liquidity risk: gross debt to income (after adjusting for liquid 
assets) 
– Solvency risk: gross debt to assets 
– Risk exposures to certain sectors/countries: need for “from-whom- 
to-whom” tables 
– Maturity risk, currency risk, etc.: need for more detailed 
breakdowns 
• Generally, quite detailed data needed, and some risks 
may be covered (or actually hidden) 
• In addition, macro-data may hide risks for certain 
groups 
• Question: where to go?
Accounting for vulnerabilities and 
economic sustainability 
The importance of looking at wealth distribution 
Debt to income ratio of indebted households 
• Analysing wealth distribution is essential for analysis of 
vulnerabilities in the household sector 
22 
Sources: EFF 2002 (Spain), SCF 2001 (US), SHIW 2002 (Italy), BHPS 2000 (UK)
Accounting for vulnerabilities and 
economic sustainability 
• Balance sheets are a snapshot of the wealth at a certain 
moment in time 
• As such, they may not reflect economic sustainability to 
the full extent: 
– Weak versus strong sustainability 
– Does not say anything about future income generating potential 
(e.g. debate on ageing society and pension liabilities) 
• On the other hand, changes in balance sheet positions 
do provide a sense of sustainability or direction where 
things are going
Going forward: what more do we 
need? 
• Better accounting for non-financial assets 
– Eurostat/OECD Task Force on Measuring Other Non-financial 
Assets => Guidance on Land 
– Natural resources (subsoil assets) 
– Residential and commercial property price indices 
– Implementation! 
• Knowledge capital? 
– Already included: (i) mineral exploration; (ii) software and 
databases; (iii) entertainment, literary and artistic originals; and 
(iv) R&D 
– Human capital?
Going forward: what more do we 
need? 
• Full accounting for pension entitlements 
– Supplementary table (2017 in EU) 
• Accounting for contingent liabilities 
• Need for much more distributional information 
• Can we capture risks and vulnerabilities to the full 
extent? 
• More generally: which data needs are most prominent?
Thank you for your attention! 
26

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HLEG thematic workshop on "Intra-generational and Inter-generational Sustainability", Peter Van de Ven

  • 1. BALANCE SHEETS DATA ACCORDING TO NATIONAL ACCOUNTS: PRESENT AND FUTURE AVAILABILITY, USE AND ABUSE Strategic Forum Rome, September 22 – 23, 2014 Peter van de Ven Head of National Accounts, OECD
  • 2. On Statistics … •“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics” (Benjamin Disraeli) 2
  • 3. On Statistics … •“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics” (Benjamin Disraeli) •“An unsophisticated forecaster uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts - for support rather than for illumination” (Andrew Lang) 3
  • 4. Introduction • General overview of availability of balance sheets data • G20 Data Gaps Initiative • Implementation issues • Indicators: use and abuse • Accounting for vulnerabilities and economic sustainability • Going forward: what more do we need? Plea for implementing system of agreed balance sheets, and making full and “appropriate” use of the data 4
  • 5. Present availability • International standards for national accounts (SNA 2008 and ESA 2010) lay out a full and consistent framework for balance sheets, including transactions • Lot of information is actually already available, first and foremost in relation to quarterly and annual information on financial transactions and positions • Especially in EU, quite some progress has been made in developing quarterly data (nowadays available 90 – 120 days after the end of the quarter) • Also in other OECD-countries 5
  • 6. G20 Data Gaps Initiative • Economic and financial crisis showed some gaps in the compilation and publication of statistical data, especially in relation to risks and vulnerabilities • In 2009, a set of recommendations has been put forward to address the main data gaps, the so-called G20 Data Gaps Initiative (DGI): – Better capture the build-up of risk in the financial sector – Improve data on international financial network connections – Monitor the vulnerability of domestic economies to shocks – Improve the communication of official statistics 6
  • 7. G20 Data Gaps Initiative • Core recommendation from macro-economic perspective: recommendation 15 on institutional sector accounts: “… to develop a strategy to promote the compilation and dissemination of the balance-sheet approach (BSA), flow-of-funds, and sectoral data more generally, starting with the G-20 economies. Data on nonbank financial institutions should be a particular priority. The experience of the ECB and Eurostat within Europe and the OECD should be drawn upon” • Templates for collection of balance sheet data, driven by the example of EU and other OECD-countries, also part of SDDS Plus requirements of IMF 7
  • 8. 8 Sector details, quarterly Non-financial corporations (S11) Of which: Public non- financial corporations Financial corporations (S12) Monetary financial institutions (S121+S122 +S123) Central bank (S121) Other depository-taking corporations (S122) Money- market funds (S123) Insurance corp. and pension funds (S128+ S129) Insurance corp. (S128) Pension funds (S129) Other financial corporations (S124+ S125+ S126+ S127) Of which: Non-money market investment funds (S124) Of which: Other financial intermediaries except insurance and pensions (S125) Of which: Financial Auxiliaries (S126) Of which: Captive financial institutions and money lenders (S127) Of which: Public financial corporations General government (S13) Of which: General Government Social Security (S1314) Households and NPISHs (S14+S15) Households (S14) NPISH (S15) Rest of the World (S2) Minimum Encouraged
  • 9. 9 Instrument details, quarterly (1/2) F1 Monetary gold and SDRs F11 Monetary gold F12 SDRs F2 Currency and deposits Of which: Domestic currency F21 Currency F22 Transferable deposits F221 Interbank positions F229 Other transferable deposits F29 Other deposits F3 Debt securities Of which: Domestic currency F31 Short-term F32 Long-term With remaining maturity of one year and less With remaining maturity of more than a year F4 Loans Of which: Domestic currency F41 Short-term F42 Long-term With remaining maturity of one year and less With remaining maturity of more than a year Minimum Encouraged
  • 10. 10 Instrument details, quarterly (2/2) F5 Equity and investment fund shares F51 Equity F511 Listed shares F512 Unlisted shares F519 Other equity F52 Investment fund shares/units F521 Money market fund shares/units F522 Non MMF investment fund shares/units F6 Insurance, pension and standardized guarantee schemes F61 Non-life insurance technical reserves F62 Life insurance and annuity entitlements F63+F64+F65 Retirement entitlements F63 Pension entitlements F64 Claim of pension fund on pension managers F65 Entitlements to non-pension benefits F66 Provisions for calls under standardized guarantees F7 Financial derivatives and employee stock options F71 Financial derivatives F711 Options F712 Forwards F72 Employee stock options F8 Other accounts receivable/payable Of which: Domestic currency F81 Trade credits and advances F89 Other accounts receivable/payable Minimum Encouraged
  • 11. 11 Non-financial assets, annually AN1 Produced non-financial assets AN11 Fixed assets of which, AN111 Dwellings AN112 Other buildings and structures AN12 Inventories AN13 Valuables AN2 Non-produced non-financial assets AN21 Natural resources of which, AN211 Land of which, AN. 2111 Land underlying buildings and structures AN212 Mineral and energy reserves AN22 Contracts, leases and licenses AN23 Goodwill and marketing assets Minimum Encouraged
  • 12. Implementation issues • Measurement of non-financial assets, especially non-produced, non-financial assets (land, natural resources, etc.) • Not all types of risks and vulnerabilities can be captured with agreed templates, e.g. interconnectedness => “from-whom-to-whom” tables or “flow of funds” • Only available in developed countries, not always on a quarterly basis • However, economic and financial crisis has created a momentum for further development • Other (conceptual) issues => later
  • 13. Indicators: use and abuse • From the framework, various indicators can be derived: – Debt to income ratios – Debt to assets ratios – Etc. • Which indicators are the most appropriate? • Example: General Government Gross Debt
  • 14. A Simple Comparison A reasonably sophisticated user has taken a look at various sources: •Eurostat, Tables on Government Finance •IMF, Government Finance Statistics (market value and face value) •IMF, World Economic Outlook •OECD, National Accounts at a Glance •OECD, Economic Outlook 14
  • 15. 15 Government Debt 2010 Differences between highest and lowest result, in %-points of GDP
  • 16. Coverage of instruments • General definition of gross debt: a specific subset of liabilities … that require payment or payments of interest or principal by the debtor to the creditor at a date or dates in the future (22.104). • All liabilities except shares, equity and financial derivatives – Monetary gold and SDRs – Currency and deposits – Debt securities – Loans – Insurance, pension and standardized guarantee schemes – Other accounts payable 16
  • 17. Coverage of instruments • However, several other definitions are being used • Maastricht debt: – Currency and deposits – Debt securities – Loans • Sometimes only loans and debt securities are covered • Most substantial impact: pension liabilities 17
  • 18. Valuation and consolidation • Different valuation concepts: – Market prices (according to SNA) – Nominal value (e.g. Maastricht definition) – Face value • Consolidated versus non-consolidated data • Other differences: differences in sources, lack of alignment to international standards, sometimes even differences due to reporting agency 18
  • 19. • Improvement of data according to agreed definition • Inclination to prefer being “exactly wrong” instead of “approximately right” • Focus on single indicators drives poor policy: – Gross Debt and Investments – Pension reforms – Creative accounting: impact on numbers more important than economic rationale (PPPs, sale and lease back constructions, taking over pension liabilities of public corporations) • Single indicators are, almost by definition, a simplification of economic reality 19 Impact of Excessive Deficit Procedure
  • 20. Going beyond • Need to account for pension liabilities and contingent liabilities • Need for additional indicators on Net Government Debt => various definitions proposed: – Including liquid assets only – Including similar instruments as the ones on the liabilities side – Including all financial assets (including shares and other equity) – Including financial assets as well as non-financial assets => net worth => also raises the question of which expenditures to be considered as investments • Finally, need for more “story-telling” on the interpretation of government debt data (e.g. the impact of differences in pension arrangements across countries) 20
  • 21. Accounting for vulnerabilities and economic sustainability • Various forms of vulnerabilities or risks: – Liquidity risk: gross debt to income (after adjusting for liquid assets) – Solvency risk: gross debt to assets – Risk exposures to certain sectors/countries: need for “from-whom- to-whom” tables – Maturity risk, currency risk, etc.: need for more detailed breakdowns • Generally, quite detailed data needed, and some risks may be covered (or actually hidden) • In addition, macro-data may hide risks for certain groups • Question: where to go?
  • 22. Accounting for vulnerabilities and economic sustainability The importance of looking at wealth distribution Debt to income ratio of indebted households • Analysing wealth distribution is essential for analysis of vulnerabilities in the household sector 22 Sources: EFF 2002 (Spain), SCF 2001 (US), SHIW 2002 (Italy), BHPS 2000 (UK)
  • 23. Accounting for vulnerabilities and economic sustainability • Balance sheets are a snapshot of the wealth at a certain moment in time • As such, they may not reflect economic sustainability to the full extent: – Weak versus strong sustainability – Does not say anything about future income generating potential (e.g. debate on ageing society and pension liabilities) • On the other hand, changes in balance sheet positions do provide a sense of sustainability or direction where things are going
  • 24. Going forward: what more do we need? • Better accounting for non-financial assets – Eurostat/OECD Task Force on Measuring Other Non-financial Assets => Guidance on Land – Natural resources (subsoil assets) – Residential and commercial property price indices – Implementation! • Knowledge capital? – Already included: (i) mineral exploration; (ii) software and databases; (iii) entertainment, literary and artistic originals; and (iv) R&D – Human capital?
  • 25. Going forward: what more do we need? • Full accounting for pension entitlements – Supplementary table (2017 in EU) • Accounting for contingent liabilities • Need for much more distributional information • Can we capture risks and vulnerabilities to the full extent? • More generally: which data needs are most prominent?
  • 26. Thank you for your attention! 26

Editor's Notes

  1. Main conclusions: Generally quite large differences. Again, situation for European countries generally better than for other OECD-countries (exception: Korea). For non-EU countries (except Chile, Korea and Switzerland), differences range from 11.4 %-points for Turkey to 35.5%-points for Iceland. Also significant differences for major economies like Japan and USA (between 20 and 25 %-points).