Effects on data
How will the changes affect data?
In the current account, the changes will principally affect the goods and services accounts, and in the financial account and international investment position they will principally affect direct investment and other investment.
In the current account, goods will principally be affected by the reclassification of merchanting (previously recorded under services) and precious metals as raw materials (previously recorded in the financial account). Exports and imports will increase as a result and the balance on goods trade will also rise. In services, however, the reclassification will have a negative effect on receipts and on the surplus on the services account. Due to the revision of the current account surveys and the expansion of the reporting population, receipts and expenses in trade in services will increase, however.
In the financial account and the international investment position, the new gross (asset/liability) recording of direct investment will alter capital flows and result in higher holdings in the international investment position. Net lending/net borrowing (from financial account) and the net international investment position will not be affected by the gross recording, however. The reclassification of precious metals as raw materials from the financial account to goods will significantly affect capital movements as well as net lending/net borrowing (from financial account). It is not yet possible to predict how significant the effect of the other changes to direct investment (super-dividends, contributions to cover losses, calculation of profit) will be. Entering the allocation of Special Drawing Rights as a liability will increase capital flows at the moment of reallocation and reduce the net international investment position.
What steps will the SNB take to prevent statistical breaks in the time series?
In order to ensure that new and old data are comparable, and to ensure that data users have long data series at their disposal, the SNB will formally reclassify the old data series in line with BPM6. Furthermore, data series which change significantly due to the expansion in the reporting population – or which are to be available for the first time due to the addition of new components to the survey – will be calculated retrospectively wherever possible. In cases where statistical breaks are unavoidable, the SNB will signal this in footnotes.