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Balance of Payments

DNB is responsible for compiling the Dutch balance of payments, in close cooperation with Statistics Netherlands (CBS). The balance of payments provides an overview of the transactions between the Netherlands and other countries in a given period, and thus an impression of how our economy is doing. The balance of payments has three components: the current account, the capital account and the financial account.

This dashboard presents the development of the balance on these accounts. Balance of payments figures are prepared in accordance with the sixth edition of the IMF's balance of payments and International Investment Position Manual (BPM6).

The balance of payments provides an overview of the transactions between the Netherlands and other countries in a given period. These transactions between Dutch residents and non-residents are divided over three accounts: the current account, the capital account and the financial account, as explained below.

The current account

The current account includes international trade in goods and services, as well as primary and secondary income transactions. Primary income transactions include wages, interest and dividends. Examples of secondary income transactions are pension benefits and insurance payments, development aid and personal funds transfers.

The current account balance is the difference between income from abroad and expenditure abroad in the current account. The Netherlands has had a positive current account balance, also known as a surplus, for decades. This is mainly due to the structural export surplus of goods and services.  There is much international attention on the Dutch current account surplus as it is consistently above the 6% norm set by the European Commission as part of the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure (MIP). The MIP aims to identify potential macroeconomic imbalances in the euro area that could adversely affect the EU economy or the euro.

The capital account

The capital account includes transactions in non-produced, non-financial assets, in addition to capital transfers. Capital transfers include gifts of capital goods, debt cancellation, inheritances and legacies. Non-produced non-financial assets include, for example, brand rights and football transfers.

The spike in the capital account balance in the second quarter of 2022 is largely due to the sale of intellectual property by a Dutch business unit of a foreign multinational to a foreign unit of the same multinational. Never before has the capital account balance in the Netherlands or indeed in the entire euro area approached this amount.

The financial account

The financial account lists transactions in financial assets and liabilities, e.g. shares, deposits and real estate. The financial account is divided into five sections:

  • Direct investment, cross-border investment involving a substantial interest.
  • Securities transactions, including debt securities and equity transactions.
  • Financial derivatives
  • Reserve assets, assets held by central banks to carry out their monetary duties and responsibilities.
  • Other financial transactions, any transactions that do not belong in the other categories. This includes, for example, loans to and from the IMF.

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