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BEA working paper summary.

Status Report on Statistical and Methodological improvements

in the U.S. Balance of Payments Statistics

The paper reviews the status of work to improve the balance of payments statistics.

Part I of the paper lists specific coverage, timing, and other problems under six major headings: (1) Merchandise trade; (2) services, excluding income; (3) portfolio income; (4) unilateral transfers; (5) direct investment income, other services, and capital flows; and (6) other private capital. Part II describes the methodological and statistical work underway on many of these problems. For example, in a major move to improve its coverage of transactions between U.S. residents and unaffiliated foreign persons, BEA conducted a benchmark survey (BE-20) of services transactions in 1987-88, covering such areas as advertising, management and consulting services, industrial engineering, telecommunications, and agricultural services. The results are now being processed. To improve its estimates of portfolio income, BEA, in cooperation with other U.S. Government agencies, is working to obtain more accurate information on banks' noninterest receipts and payments for financial services performed for U.S. and foreign clients.

Part III describes improvements underway or to be undertaken with BEA's existing resources. These include incorporating new estimates from the benchmark survey of services transactions into the appropriate balance of payments accounts and conducting follow-on annual surveys. Resolving a number of issues related to direct investment is also planned. Part IV discusses some improvements for which BEA would require additional resources and the cooperation of other Government agencies if significant progress is to be made. These include resolving some accounting problems associated with currency fluctuations, securing reports on foreign purchases of certain U.S. securities, and solving some problems of duplication and omission in reporting by U.S. banks and nonbank affiliates.

This paper, which is BEA Working Paper No. 6, may be ordered from Economic and Statistical Analysis/BEA, U.S. Department of Commerce, Citizens and Southern National Bank, 222 Mitchell Street, P.O. Box 100606, Atlanta, GA 30384. The accession number is BEA 0D 88-001; the price is $5.00. (Additional order information is on the inside back cover.)
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Title Annotation:United States. Bureau of Economic Analysis
Author:Moczar, Louis J.
Publication:Survey of Current Business
Date:Aug 1, 1988
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