February 15, 2022

IMF releases report on Balance of Payments


…Reveals 3% negative net positions of global GDP

Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), yesterday, released its 2020 Annual Report on Balance of Payments Statistics, saying that the period witnessed negative net positions of 3 per cent of global Gross Domestic Product.

It said in a statement issued in Washington, “Overall, negative net positions reached a historical high of 3.0 per cent of global GDP, partly reflecting the impact of the pandemic, which not only adversely impacted global GDP but also reduced the quality of source data.”

The world body said that the COVID-19 pandemic crashed exports of travel services to above 63 per cent.

It added that the unprecedented plunge in the tourism sector reduced exports of services by 18 per cent, while merchandise trade fell by 8 per cent.

According to the organization, the report summarised the work of the  IMF Committee on Balance of Payments Statistics.
It highlighted a considerably negative effect of the pandemic on cross-border transactions in the period under review.

It said, “With global economic activity disrupted, worldwide merchandise trade flows fell by about 8 per cent, year-on-year. The effect on trade in services was even more pronounced, as exports of services fell by 18 per cent, driven mainly by an unprecedented plunge in the tourism sector, where exports of travel services dropped by more than 63 per cent.”

In contrast to trade, the report indicated,  “global inflows of personal transfers—mostly remittances—to emerging and developing economies were little changed in 2020.

“Cross-border financial assets and liabilities positions, rose by almost 12 per cent in 2020.”

In March 2020, the update of the Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual, sixth edition (BPM6) was launched in coordination with the update of the System of National Accounts 2008 (2008 SNA).

According to the report, “The BPM6 update addresses key economic developments, namely globalization (accounting for global production arrangements); digitalization (e.g., digital trade, FinTech, crypto assets); and the increased complexity of financial linkages and interdependencies between economies.

 “It also tackles growing policy statistical priorities, including climate change, inclusion, and sustainability.”

The IMF launched its new international data initiative to collect and disseminate annual cross-border statistics on Special Purpose Entities (SPEs), in May 2021.

It revealed that the first set of selected cross-border flows and positions for resident SPEs for the reference year 2020 would be released early this year.

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