The compilation of the external balance according to the new standard is obligatory for all EU countries. The figures for the Netherlands have been adjusted for the period since 2008. At a later stage, the data will be converted as far back as 2003, when DNB introduced a system of direct reporting.
The revised edition of the IMF's balance of payments manual ran in parallel to the update of the United Nations' System of National Accounts (SNA 2008), which forms the basis for the European System of Accounts (ESA 2010). This means that the guidelines for the balance of payments and national accounts are now fully aligned methodologically. The presentation of the balance of payments will keep its specific functional categorisation, such as direct and portfolio investment.
DNB used the introduction of BPM6 to implement other improvements, too. First of all, in those cases where Statistics Netherlands (CBS) is the source of the balance of payments data, its revised figures for the national accounts are used. This relates mainly to goods trade, primary income (insofar as not resulting from cross-border financial assets and liabilities) and secondary income. Secondly, total cross-border services will from now on be aligned with their level in the national accounts, which had already been done for goods. Thirdly, some items were revised as a result of new information that has become available and changes made to the compilation method. An important component is the improved compilation of the balance of payments figures for special financial institutions. Together with Statistics Netherlands, DNB harmonised the current account balance for this sector.
The article accompanying this News Release provides a further explanation of the most important changes, also looking at numbers. For the most important external indicators – the current account and the net external investment position – it is already noted that the size and movement of the current account balance do not change substantially, while the net international investment position has been adjusted downward by an average of nearly EUR 90 billion (15% of GDP) for the period 2008-2013.