Balance of goods

The balance of goods records flows related to transactions (imports and exports) transferring the ownership of goods between residents and non-residents, as well as merchanting transactions and the value of goods procured in ports by carriers.

According to the new methodology that was described in the 6th edition of the IMF’s Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual (BPM6), goods for processing or repair are reclassified from goods to services.

As from reference month July 2015, the Bank of Greece introduced a significant change to its methodology for compiling the balance of payments, incorporating ELSTAT trade statistics into the balance of goods, instead of the settlements data used until June 2015. Under the new methodology, the balance of goods reflects customs-based or other administrative data, as collected or estimated by ELSTAT.

The adoption of the new source of data has been implemented retrospectively, going back to January 2002, a period for which historical data will be available.

ELSTAT trade statistics comprise:

  1. statistics on imports and exports from and to non-EU countries (Extrastat), based on data collected from customs authorities through the Single Administrative Document; and
  2. intra-EU trade statistics (Intrastat), based on data collected through a special document submitted by enterprises (Intrastat document).

In ELSTAT's external trade statistics, the value of exports is reported in f.o.b. (free on board) terms, while the value of exports is reported in c.i.f. (cost, insurance, freight) terms. Given that both exports and imports are reported in f.o.b. terms in the balance of payments, the Bank of Greece converts the value of imports into f.o.b. terms by applying a fixed conversion coefficient of 5% (i.e. f.o.b. = c.i.f. * (1-0.05)), and the resulting difference is allocated to transportation and insurance services by 4/5 and 1/5, respectively.

Moreover, in the compilation of the balance of goods (as is also the case with that of National Accounts) imports of goods include ELSTAT's estimate of the illicit trade in goods, which amounts to €1.5 billion annually.

More information regarding  the incorporation of ELSTAT trade statistics into the balance of goods is available in the relevant  press release.

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