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Balance of payments frequently asked questions

Find answers to some frequently asked questions about New Zealand's balance of payments (BoP) and international investment position (IIP).

What is the BoP current account?

The BoP current account summarises New Zealand's international trade in goods and services, and investment income and transfers with the rest of the world. A deficit in the current account shows that expenses were greater than earnings for a given period. A deficit must be balanced by a net inflow of investment from the rest of the world.

What is the financial account?

The financial account shows New Zealand's financial transactions with the rest of the world that involve our assets and liabilities (the country's investment flows).

Investment types are: direct, portfolio, other investment, financial derivatives, and reserve assets. Investment can be as either equity or non-equity instruments (monetary gold and special drawing rights, currency and deposits, debt securities, loans, insurance, pension and standardised guarantee schemes, financial derivatives and employee stock options, or trade credits).

What is the international investment position?

The IIP shows the level of New Zealand's international assets and liabilities at a point in time.This level is affected by financial account transactions and by valuation changes.

Where can I find information on New Zealand's overseas debt?

Overseas debt is located in table 12 of the quarterly BoP and IIP information release, which presents 'non-equity financial instrument liabilities' and 'non-equity financial instrument assets'. The difference between these two figures is the 'net international debt'.

What partner country information is available on international investment?

International investment data is presented by partner country in the annual BoP and IIP information release, for transaction flows and stocks.

See Investment by country for details about accessing this information on Infoshare.

What partner country information is available on international trade in services?

Partner country information is available for all service categories. Detailed partner country information for trade in commercial services is sourced from Statistics NZ's International Trade in Services and Royalties Survey. We separately estimate partner country data for travel, transportation, insurance, and government services.

See International trade in services by country – tables for the information that is available for each country. Please note that many countries and service categories cannot be published because the data is confidential.

Do you make an estimate for remittances into or out of New Zealand?

Estimates for remittances are included in the primary income (compensation of employees) and secondary income (personal transfers) series in the BoP current account. We are currently researching alternative data sources for remittances from New Zealand to the rest of the world.

See Balance of payments for more information.

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