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Australian National Accounts: Finance and Wealth methodology

Reference period
December Quarter 2019

Explanatory notes

Introduction

This publication contains Australian National Accounts quarterly estimates for:

  • national, sectoral and subsectoral financial accounts (flows) and balance sheets by financial instruments and counterparties
  • national, sectoral and subsectoral capital accounts
  • financial instrument market tables by sectors and subsectors issuing/accepting/borrowing by counterparties
  • demand for credit and credit outstanding by non-financial domestic sectors and subsectors
  • household balance sheet and associated analytical measures of income, consumption, saving and wealth
  • household housing loans outstanding by lending institution
     

The time series for financial flows, capital accounts and household balance sheet starts from September quarter 1988, the related financial balance sheets for the financial flows start in June quarter 1988. The household analytical measures of income, consumption, saving and wealth start from September quarter 1989. All estimates are in current prices, and the capital accounts are presented in original, seasonally adjusted and trend terms.

Concepts, sources and methods

Australia's national accounts statistics are compiled in accordance with international standards contained in the System of National Accounts. The standards governing national accounts are agreed internationally and detailed in the "System of National Accounts 2008" (2008 SNA). 2008 SNA is endorsed by the five major international economic organisations: the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the OECD, the World Bank and the European Commission. The current complete version of 2008 SNA is available on-line: http://unstats.un.org/unsd/nationalaccount/sna2008.asp

Australia's application of the 2008 SNA standards is described in Australian System of National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5216.0). This publication outlines the concepts and definitions, describes sources of data and methods used to derive quarterly estimates published in this publication. The chapters related to the estimates in this publications are as follows:

  • Chapter 2: Overview of the Conceptual Framework
  • Chapter 3: Stocks, Flows and Accounting Rules
  • Chapter 4: Institutional Units and Sectors
  • Chapter 13: The Income Account
  • Chapter 14: The Capital Account
  • Chapter 15: The Financial Accounts
  • Chapter 16: The Other Changes in Volume of Assets Accounts
  • Chapter 17: Balance Sheet
  • Chapter 20: Analytical measures
     

For more detailed information on how the 2008 SNA institutional units and sectors have been adapted to Australian conditions, please see in the Standard Economic Sector Classification of Australia, (SESCA) 2008 (cat. no. 1218.0).

Seasonal adjustment

Data that are affected by seasonal factors are adjusted to remove the effects of these factors. It is important to note that the methods used in seasonal adjustment do not force the sum of the adjusted current price estimates for each quarter of a year to equal the original annual total.

Trend estimates

Given the qualifications regarding the accuracy and reliability of the quarterly national accounts, the ABS considers that trend estimates provide the best guide to the underlying movements, and are more suitable than either the seasonally adjusted or original data for most business decisions and policy advice.

A trend estimate is obtained by removing the irregular component from the seasonally adjusted series. For estimates in this publication, it is calculated using a centred 7-term Henderson moving average of the seasonally adjusted series. The procedure is designed to minimise distortions in the trend level, turning point shape and timing of turning points. Estimates for the three most recent quarters cannot be calculated using this centred average method; instead an asymmetric average is used. This can lead to revisions in the trend estimates for the last three quarters when data become available for later quarters, even if none of the original data for earlier quarters has changed.

The higher the 'irregular' component in a series, then the greater the likelihood that trend estimates for the latest quarters will be revised as more observations become available. However, it is important to note that this does not make the trend series inferior to the seasonally adjusted or original series. In fact, in such cases the effect of the irregular component on overall movements is likely to be even more in the seasonally adjusted and the original estimates than in the trend series.

Trend estimates for aggregates such as GDP are derived directly, rather than as the sum of components. As a result, the sum of the trend estimates of individual components of a particular aggregate will not sum to the overall trend estimate of the aggregate for the latest three quarters. This approach provides higher quality trend estimates for key aggregates, particularly GDP.

Revisions

Most figures are subject to revision as more complete and accurate information becomes available.

Financial accounts of various types - which are also called flow of funds statistics - are published by many Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, including the United States of America (from 1945), the United Kingdom (from 1952) and Canada (from 1962). In Australia, the Reserve Bank produced annual flow of funds accounts for the reference years 1953-54 to 1988-89. The final edition of these was published in the Reserve Bank Bulletin, November 1989. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) published quarterly estimates commencing with experimental estimates of inter-sectoral financial transactions for the March and June quarters 1989. From the June 1998 reference quarter, the financial accounts dataset was produced according to revised international standards, the System of National Accounts, 1993 (1993 SNA). From the September 2009 quarter, Australian National Accounts: Finance and Wealth (cat. no. 5232.0) has been produced according to the 2008 SNA.

The Australian Financial Accounts shown here are not directly comparable with the flow of funds estimates which were previously published by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). Therefore, the ABS series should not be used as an extension of the RBA series. The main differences between the two series are as follows:

  • The ABS statistics are compiled with assistance from specially conducted statistical surveys whereas the RBA’s series were compiled mainly from administrative sources. These administrative by-product data were different in scope, coverage, timing and classification from the survey data used by ABS.
  • The ABS statistics use the same sectors as in other parts of the national accounts whereas the RBA’s sectoring was different. The RBA combined Commonwealth public trading enterprises and Commonwealth general government; and State and local public trading enterprises with State and local general government. The sectors used by the RBA can be constructed by consolidation of the statistics presented in this publication. Also, the RBA’s statistics had a more detailed classification of financial enterprises than that presented here.
  • The ABS statistics use a more extensive classification of financial instruments than that used by the RBA. The RBA’s classification can be constructed from the ABS statistics.
     

Deficiencies in the coverage of financial surveys: the ABS does not presently collect balance sheet information from small non-financial corporations, solicitors' and similar trust funds, and financial auxiliaries (such as stock brokers), some of which buy securities on their own account. Although broad information reported by professional fund managers includes funds they invest on behalf of such investors, the fund managers provide asset profiles only for monies they invest on behalf of pension funds. If the coverage deficiency were not corrected it would cause errors in some of the estimates for the household sector. As an interim measure the ABS has made estimates for these unreported assets using the partial information reported by fund managers.

The ABS is aware of the following deficiencies in reported data:

  • There are some classification and timing problems in the data being reported by some large banks.
  • The quality of the data for the other depository corporations sector is only fair.
  • The data for the rest of world are of only fair quality because of deficiencies in coverage, classification and valuation.
  • Stock lending, repurchase agreements, and short selling in securities markets and inconsistent treatment of these practices by respondents are causing some double counting of asset records for some types of securities.
  • The ABS believes that derivative and synthetic financial products are being treated inconsistently.
  • The estimates of the stock of issued shares of unlisted private non-financial corporations are very poor.
  • For the convenience of survey respondents, the information collected in the ABS survey of private non-financial corporations is consolidated for groups of companies. Hence it is not possible to show, for example, loans between group members as part of the long term loan market. Similarly, as the ABS does not survey households, loans between households are also not shown in these statistics.
     

Problems in estimating financial transactions from balance sheet information: the revaluation data available to the ABS for frequently traded securities are of reasonable quality. These include estimates for listed shares and Commonwealth and State government bonds/bills. The revaluation data available for securities that are less frequently traded, such as unlisted shares, are of only fair quality.

Accuracy of the estimates, conclusion: despite the described problems, the ABS considers that these statistics are of an acceptable standard for the purposes they are intended to serve. An indication of the overall quality of the data can be gained by considering the levels information for the household sector, which are judged by the ABS to be the poorest quality data in the publication. All the liabilities data are good quality counterpart data from the asset records of financial institutions. In addition, households' deposit and loan assets are measured directly elsewhere and 'counterpartied' into this sector. Only households' holdings of tradeable securities are derived residually and so reflect errors and omissions in the estimates for the other sectors. Households' holdings of shares are the lowest grade estimate in these statistics. A high proportion of the household data are therefore of high quality despite being considered of poorer quality than the balance of the statistics.

Notes to assist interpretation of selected tables

An explanation of how to interpret some statistical tables is given below:

Table 1

Table 1 (credit market outstandings) of the financial accounts shows the key liabilities of each of the domestic non-financial sectors. Included are borrowings, debt securities and equities.

All 'off-market' funding arrangements are excluded. For example:

  • liabilities of the financial sector are excluded because of the role of the financial institutions in the economy - they borrow in order to lend
  • national government financial arrangements with State governments
  • national government financial arrangements with public trading enterprises (either national or state)
  • state government financial arrangements with public trading enterprises (either national or state)
  • financial arrangements between related corporations in the same subsector
     

Excluded also are non-conventional instruments, including:

  • deposits and insurance technical reserves, as these are with the financial sector
  • derivatives, as these are normally for hedging purposes, not fund raising
  • sundry accounts payable, as these are generally incurred through normal trading activities
  • unfunded superannuation liabilities, as these are incidental to employment
     

Table 2

This table, called demand for credit, is the flow equivalent of table 1 and so has the same exclusions. It shows quarterly net raisings of debt and equity on conventional credit markets worldwide by each of the non-financial domestic sectors. The aggregate at the head of the table is a measure of the primary credit flow in Australia, that is, credit which is to be used primarily to finance non-financial outlays such as investment in plant and equipment.

Tables 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 27, 29, 31, 33, 37

The capital accounts shows the funds accumulated during the period by each of the sectors for the purchase of assets (gross saving and capital transfers) together with estimates of expenditure on capital accumulation and the resulting positive or negative balance (total net capital accumulation and net lending (+)/net borrowing (-)). A surplus in this account is called net lending; by convention a deficit (i.e. net borrowing) is shown as negative net lending.

Tables 4, 6, 8-10, 12, 14-26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 38

These tables show the level (stock) and flows of financial assets and liabilities of each domestic subsector of the economy at market prices. Since the aim of these tables is to present an analytically useful financial profile of each of the subsectors, they are consolidated to eliminate holdings of financial instruments by the subsector which issued them. For example, the block bonds etc. in the table for central borrowing authorities (table 24) shows the stock of bonds etc. held as assets by this subsector. A central borrowing authority may be expected to hold long-term debt securities issued by other central borrowing authorities but these holdings are eliminated on consolidation (and the outstanding liability of this subsector for this instrument is reduced accordingly). In contrast, in the table called the bonds market (table 44) a different basis of consolidation is used and these intra-sector holdings are shown (and shown to be substantial).

In these tables, the primary classification is the financial instrument (e.g. other deposits) and the secondary classification is counterparty sector (e.g. other deposits accepted by: authorised deposit taking institutions).

Statistics for the financial assets and liabilities of subsectors of the non-financial public sector are broadly comparable with statistics published in Government Finance Statistics, Australia (cat. no. 5519.0.55.001).

The transaction show inter-sectoral transactions in financial assets and liabilities classified by financial instrument. Most instruments are disaggregated to show the subsector of the counterparty. For example, the loans and placements in the table for other broad money institutions (table 17) shows the growth (or contraction) in lending by these financial institutions to the other subsectors. In these tables, an entry without an arithmetic sign indicates a net increase in either financial assets or liabilities. An entry with a negative sign indicates a net decrease in financial assets or liabilities.

The items (i) net lending (+)/net borrowing (-), (ii) net errors and omissions and (iii) change in financial position provide some analysis of the interrelationships between saving, capital formation and financial transactions in the economy. In concept, a sector's net lending (+)/net borrowing (-) (item from the capital account) should be the same as its net change in financial position (in the financial account). Because this equality is unlikely to be realised in practice (due to the use of different sources of information to derive each aggregate) the item net errors and omissions is included to show the difference between these alternative estimates of the same concept. This difference can be caused by errors and omissions in both the capital account and the financial account.

Table 38: Financial assets and liabilities of the rest of world

The items (i) net lending (+)/net borrowing (-), (ii) net errors and omissions and (iii) change in financial position provides an alternative presentation of Australia's quarterly balance of payments statistics, as published in Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia (cat. no. 5302.0). In the financial accounts, these transactions are presented from the point of view of non-residents. Net lending (+)/net borrowing (-) is the balance of payments current account plus capital account (with opposite arithmetic sign), net errors and omissions (with opposite sign) and the net change in financial position is the balance of payments financial account. It may also be found as change in net international investment position reflecting transactions.

Australia's net international investment position-level of investment at end of period and transaction during the period as published in Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia (cat. no. 5302.0) can be derived from table 38. It is equal to total financial assets (of non-residents) less total liabilities (of non-residents).

When comparing the data in tables 14 and 15 as published in Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia (cat. no. 5302.0) and data in table 38 in this publication, it is important to note the following differences.

  • In this publication, assets and liabilities are published from the perspective of the party concerned. For example, in relation to non-residents, financial assets and liabilities are shown as belonging to the rest of world sector. In Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia (cat. no. 5302.0), such data are published from the opposite perspective, i.e. as Australian assets and liabilities that have non-resident counterparties. This difference affects comparisons of the statistics only in as much that the arithmetic signs attributed to assets and liabilities are opposite in the two publications.
  • This publication does not include the split made in Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia (cat. no. 5302.0) between direct and portfolio investment. This affects comparison between data in the publications because direct investment (including equity, borrowing and trade credit) between related companies is published on a net basis in Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia (cat. no. 5302.0) and is recorded on a gross basis in table 38.
     

The above points are illustrated in the example below:

  • A hypothetical company, ZZZ Corporation, operating in Australia is owned by a UK company, YYY Corporation. ZZZ Corporation has previously borrowed $500 million from its parent, but also lent $100 million to a related company overseas (e.g. another subsidiary of the same parent).
  • In Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia (cat. no. 5302.0), YYY Corporation's equity in ZZZ Corporation would be included in the table 27, INTERNATIONAL INVESTMENT: DIRECTIONAL PRINCIPLE - QUARTER under Direct investment in Australia - equity. The borrowing would also be included in table 27, under the category Direct investment in Australia - other capital - liabilities to direct investors, as equal to the amount of $400 million ($500 less $100).
  • In this publication, the equity would be included in table 38, under financial assets - equity. The borrowing would be displayed under financial assets - loans and placements as equal to $500 million, and the loan would be included in financial liabilities - loans and placements as equal to $100 million.
  • This publication includes more detailed sector and instrument splits than provided in Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia (cat. no. 5302.0).
  • This publication includes the reserve position in the IMF in currency and deposits, whereas, in Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia (cat. no. 5302.0), the reserve position is shown as a separate item.
     

Tables 39-50

These tables present - as far as possible - the whole market for each of the financial instruments, that is, the level and transactions of financial assets and liabilities at market prices for each instrument. These tables are less consolidated than sectoral and subsectoral financial flows and balance sheets. Claims between enterprises within the same company group are eliminated; claims between enterprises which are outside the company group but inside the same subsector are not eliminated. For example, claims between a bank and its banking subsidiaries are eliminated on consolidation but not claims between banking groups.

These tables shows all transactions and outstanding liabilities of residents of Australia for that financial instrument. Liabilities, for example, bonds, issued in international markets are included with those issued in the domestic market. This total is then dissected into the several sectors which issued this instrument - the primary classification and under each of these lines there is an indented block showing the counterparty sectors which hold these instruments as assets. Tables 43 and 44 relating to the one-name paper and bond markets respectively, also split the total liability between the total issued in Australia and the total issued offshore.

Related ABS publications which may also be of interest include:

Current publications and other products released by the ABS are freely available from the ABS website http://www.abs.gov.au, the website contains a link to the daily Release Advice which details products to be released in the weeks (months) ahead. A national accounts page is available on the website, select: National Statistics - National Accounts on the left hand side of the home page. This page provides direct links to all national accounts related data and publications, recent national accounts changes and forthcoming events, links to relevant websites and a range of other information about the Australian National Accounts.

Glossary

Show all

Accrual accounting

The accounting process of recording flows at the time when economic value is created, transformed, exchanged, transferred or extinguished.

Acquisitions less disposals of non-produced non-financial assets

Includes three distinct types of non-produced non-financial assets: natural resources; contracts, leases and licences; and goodwill and marketing assets. At present, estimates of the value of purchased goodwill and marketing assets are not compiled for the ASNA.

Arm’s length

Balances and transactions between unrelated entities negotiated solely on normal commercial criteria. For example, loans to private non-financial corporations from banks are arm's length borrowings for the purpose of Tables 1 and 2; but loans from members of the same enterprise group are not.

Asset-backed security

A debt security which is backed by specific assets (such as mortgages over real estate) rather than the general credit-worthiness of the issuing entity.

Assets

Store of value over which ownership rights are enforced by institutional units, individually or collectively, and from which economic benefits may be derived by their owners by holding them, or using them, over a period of time (the economic benefits consist of primary incomes derived from the use of the asset and the value, including possible holding gains/losses, that could be realised by disposing of the asset or terminating it).

Balance sheet

A statement, drawn up in respect of a particular point in time, of the values of assets owned and of the liabilities owed by an institutional unit or group of units. A balance sheet may be drawn up for institutional units, institutional sectors and the total economy.

Bearer securities

Debt securities for which the issuer does not maintain a register of current holders. Settlement of transactions (trades) may be effected by delivery.

Bills of exchange

Is an unconditional order drawn (issued) by one party, sent to another party (usually a bank) for acceptance and made out to, or to the order of, a third party, or to bearer (holder). It is a negotiable instrument with an original term to maturity of 180 days or less. Bills of exchange are also known as ‘banker’s acceptance’.

Bonds

Long-term securities where the issuer pledges to pay the holder the sum of money shown on the face of the document, on a date which at the time of issue is more than one year in the future. Many bonds on issue in Australia pay interest at a set percentage of face value every six months (known as “coupon interest”) for the life of the bond. Such bonds are known as fixed interest bonds. However, there are a significant amount of variable rate bonds and some deep discount (or zero coupon) bonds on issue.

Capital account

Records the values of the non-financial assets that are acquired, or disposed of, by resident institutional units by engaging in transactions, and shows the change in net worth due to saving and capital transfers or internal bookkeeping transactions linked to production (changes in inventories and consumption of fixed capital).

Capital formation

Represents the use of Financing resources on capital assets. Calculated as the sum of Gross fixed capital formation, Changes in inventories and Acquisitions less disposals of non-produced non-financial assets.

Capital transfers

Unrequited transactions where either:

  • ownership of an asset (other than cash or inventories) is transferred from one institutional unit to another
  • cash is transferred to enable the recipient to acquire another asset
  • the funds realised by the disposal of an asset are transferred


Examples include general government capital transfers to private schools for the construction of science blocks or libraries, assistance to first home owners and transfers to charitable organisations for the construction of homes for the aged.

Central borrowing authorities

A statutory body - often called a Treasury Corporation - established by a State or Territory government to borrow on its behalf and on behalf of its trading enterprises, and to on-lend the funds raised to those bodies. Most borrowing authorities also manage liquid assets on behalf of government bodies.

Change in financial position

The balance in the financial account is net change in financial position. This is equal to net acquisition of financial assets less net incurrence of liabilities.

Changes in inventories

The difference in value between inventories held at the beginning and end of the reference period by enterprises and general government. For national accounting purposes, physical changes in inventories should be valued at the prices current at the times when the changes occur. For these purposes, changes in inventories are obtained after adjusting the increase in book value of inventories by the inventory valuation adjustment. The need for the latter arises because the changes in the value of inventories as calculated from existing business accounting records do not meet national accounting requirements. The inventory valuation adjustment is the difference between the change in (book) value of inventories and the physical changes valued at current prices. The physical changes at average current quarter prices are calculated by applying average quarterly price indexes to the changes in various categories of inventories in volume terms.

Common fund

An investment fund established by a trustee company to accept monies it holds in trust and other monies invested by the public. Cash common funds are similar to cash management trusts except that they do not issue units nor do they necessarily issue prospectuses.

Consolidation

The accounting process of adding together transactions or balance sheet items after excluding those between entities in the same subsector, company group, or level of government. For example, a loan from one private non-financial corporation to another is eliminated from the consolidated total of assets and liabilities of the subsector because, in such cases, there is no asset or liability held with an entity outside the private non-financial corporations subsector.

Consumer durable

A good that may be used for purposes of consumption repeatedly or continuously over a period of a year or more.

Consumption of fixed capital

The value of the reproducible fixed assets used up during a period of account as a result of normal wear and tear, foreseen obsolescence and the normal rate of accidental damage. Unforeseen obsolescence, major catastrophes and the depletion of natural resources are not taken into account.

Conventional credit markets

Credit markets which are reasonably open to all potential borrowers. Excluded, for example, are loans arranged between related entities. This concept is important for an understanding of the Credit Market Outstandings and Demand for Credit tables in Australian National Accounts: Finance and Wealth (cat. no. 5232.0).

Conventional financial instruments

These instruments consist of:

  • currency
  • deposits
  • bills of exchange
  • one name paper
  • bonds etc
  • derivatives
  • loans
  • equity
     

Corporations

Entities that are capable of generating a profit or other financial gain for their owners; are recognised at law as separate legal entities from their owners who enjoy limited liability; and are set up for purposes of engaging in market production. They also include co-operatives, limited liability partnerships, notional resident units and quasi-corporations.

Counterparting

The process of taking the asset record of a sector and using it as the liability record of the counterparty sector, or vice versa. For a market transaction to occur there must be a willing buyer and a willing seller. To the buyer, the seller is the counterparty, and vice versa.

Cultivated biological resources

Includes livestock raised for breeding, dairy, wool, etc., and vineyards, orchards and other plantations of trees yielding repeat products that are under the direct control, responsibility and management of institutional units. Immature cultivated assets are excluded unless produced for own use.

Currency

Consists of notes and coins that are of fixed nominal values and are issued or authorised by the central bank or government. For Australia the currency asset refers solely to domestic currency. There is little foreign currency in general circulation, and significant holdings are classified as foreign deposits.

Current prices

Estimates are valued at the prices of the period to which the observation relates. For example, estimates for this financial year are valued using this financial year’s prices. This contrasts to chain volume measures where the prices used in valuation refer to the prices of the previous year.

Debt security

A financial instrument that evidences the issuer’s promise to repay the principal at face value on maturity. It may be issued to investors at a discount, and/or the issuer may promise to pay interest (usually at six monthly intervals) to the holders. Unlike shares, debt securities do not confer on the holders ownership rights in the issuing entity.

Debt to equity ratio

The debt to equity ratio provides an assessment of a corporation's financial leverage calculated as [(total liabilities less equity) / equity]. The ratio indicates in what proportion the corporation is using equity and debt to finance its activities. During periods of buoyant income and stable interest rates, a leveraged corporation stands to make a substantial return on equity compared with an un-leveraged corporation. However, during more uncertain times a leveraged corporation is at risk from fluctuations in earnings and / or rising interest rates, such that debt servicing costs may not be met. The ratios presented here are averages for all private non-financial corporations.

Debt to liquid assets ratio

The debt to liquid assets ratio reflects the ability of the household sector to extinguish debts in a short period of time using their readily available, or liquid assets. The following are classified as liquid assets: currency and deposits, short and long term debt securities, and equities.

Derivatives

Financial instruments that are linked to a specific financial instrument or indicator or commodity, and which provide for market financial risk in a form that can be traded or otherwise offset in the market. Derivatives are used for a number of purposes including risk management, hedging, and speculation. Unlike debt instruments, no principal amount is advanced to be repaid, and no investment income accrues. The value of the derivative derives from the price of the underlying items.

Discount securities

Debt securities which are issued to investors for less than the value appearing on the face of the security. Holders are not paid interest but rather receive capital gains (the difference between the purchase price and the face value of the security).

Dwellings

Buildings, or designated parts of buildings, that are used entirely or primarily as residences, including any associated structures, such as garages, and all permanent fixtures customarily installed in residences. Houseboats, barges, mobile homes and caravans used as principal residences of households are also included, as are public monuments identified primarily as dwellings. The costs of site clearance and preparation are also included in the value of dwellings.

Economically significant prices

Prices which have a significant influence on both the amounts producers are willing to supply and the amounts purchasers wish to buy.

Equity

Equity has the distinguishing feature that the holders own a residual claim on the assets of the institutional unit that issued the equity. Equity represents the owner’s funds in the institutional unit.

External account

Records all current transactions between Australian residents and non-residents.

Face value

The value that appears on the face of a debt security being the amount that the issuing entity promises to pay to the holder when the security matures. Also known as the nominal or par value.

Farm inventories

Includes:

  • inventories held on farms (including wool, wheat, barley, oats, maize, sorghum, hay, fertiliser, apples and pears, and livestock)
  • wool held in store awaiting sale
  • produce (e.g. vegetables) held in cold store where ownership remains with the primary producer
     

Financial account

Records the net acquisition of financial assets and net incurrence of liabilities for all institutional sectors by type of financial asset.

Financial assets

Are mostly financial claims. Financial claims entitle the owner to receive a payment, or a series of payments, from an institutional unit to which the owner has provided funds. Shares are treated as financial assets even though the financial claim their holders have on the corporation is not a fixed or predetermined monetary amount.

Financial corporations

Mainly engaged in financial market transactions, which involve incurring liabilities and acquiring financial assets, i.e. borrowing and lending money, providing superannuation, life, health or other insurance, financial leasing or investing in financial assets. Also included are corporations providing financial auxiliary services.

Financing resources

Represents the funds available to finance investments. Calculated as the sum of Net saving, Consumption of fixed capital, Net capital transfers and Statistical discrepancy.

Fixed assets

Produced assets that are used repeatedly, or continuously, in processes of production for more than one year. Fixed assets consist of dwellings, non-dwelling construction, machinery and equipment, weapons systems, cultivated biological resources, ownership transfer costs and intellectual property products.

Forward contract

An arrangement in which two parties, in order to protect themselves against interest rate changes, agree on an interest rate to be paid, at a specified settlement date, on a notional amount of principal that is never exchanged. The only payment that takes place is related to the difference between the agreed forward rate and the prevailing market rate at the time of settlement.

Friendly societies

These are mutual organisations whose members originally came from specific crafts or religions. They aim to provide their members with a wide range of cradle-to-grave services. Examples of these are: life, health, disability, funeral, and general insurances; investment services; financial services similar to those provided by credit unions; and retirement and travel services.

Futures contract

An agreement to buy/sell a standard quantity of a commodity - such as gold, $US or bank bills of exchange - on a specific future date at an agreed price determined at the time the contract is traded on the futures exchange.

Government units

Unique types of legal entities established by political processes and having legislative, judicial or executive authority over other institutional units.

Gross fixed capital formation

Expenditure on new fixed assets plus net expenditure on second-hand fixed assets, including both additions and or replacements. Expenditure on repair and maintenance of fixed assets is excluded, being chargeable to the production account. Compensation of employees and other costs paid by corporations in connection with own-account capital formation are included.

Household

A group of persons who share the same living accommodation, who pool some, or all, of their income and wealth and who consume certain types of goods and services collectively, mainly housing and food.

Household claims on technical reserves of life insurance corporations and pension funds

This represents households’ net equity in, or claims on, the reserves of life insurance corporations and pension funds. In the case of life insurance corporations, it equates in large measure with the net policy liabilities of life offices to households. In the case of pension funds, it represents the funds’ obligations to members including any surpluses and reserves. A claim by householders on insurance technical reserve of non-resident pension funds is also included.

Income account

Shows how gross disposable income is used for final consumption expenditure and the consumption of fixed capital (depreciation), with the balance being net saving. Income flows are divided into primary income and secondary income. Primary incomes are incomes that accrue to institutional units as a consequence of their involvement in processes of production or ownership of assets that may be needed for purposes of production. Secondary incomes are incomes that are redistributed between institutional units by means of payments and receipts of current transfers. Income redistribution also includes social transfers in kind.

Inscribed stock

Debt securities whose issuer maintains a register of current holders. Accordingly, settlement of transactions (trades) in these securities is affected by assignment (marked transfer), not delivery.

Institutional sectors

The resident units that make up the total economy are grouped into four mutually exclusive institutional sectors, namely: the non-financial corporations sector; the financial corporations sector; the general government sector; and the household sector, which includes non-profit institutions serving households.

Insurance technical reserves

Comprises financial assets that are reserves against outstanding risks, reserves for with-profit insurance, prepayments of premiums and reserves against outstanding claims. Insurance technical reserves may be liabilities not only of life or non-life insurance enterprises (whether mutual or incorporated) but also of autonomous pension funds, which are included in the insurance enterprise subsector, and certain non-autonomous pension funds that are included in the institutional sector that manages the funds. Insurance technical reserves are subdivided between net equity of households on life insurance reserves and on pension funds, and prepayments of premiums and reserves against outstanding claims.

Intellectual property products

Are as a result of research and development, investigation or innovations leading to knowledge that the developers can market or use for their own benefit. Includes computer software, research and development, entertainment, literary or artistic originals, and mineral exploration intended to be used for more than a year.

Interest payable to income ratio

The interest payable to income ratio represents the proportion of household gross disposable income that is required to meet interest payments. Interest payable in the graph is the "un-adjusted interest payable". It includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured (FISIM) on dwelling loans, consumer debt and unincorporated enterprises plus the corresponding interest payable for each of these series. It therefore represents the total nominal amounts of interest paid by the household sector. The interest payable to income ratio is relatively volatile in the short term, however long term trends may be observed.

Inventories

Consist of stocks of outputs that are held at the end of a period by the units that produced them prior to their being further processed, sold, delivered to other units or used in other ways and stocks of products acquired from other units that are intended to be used for intermediate consumption or for resale without further processing.

Investment

The use of financing resources on Capital formation and Net financial investment. Also includes Net errors and omissions.

Land

Consists of the ground, including the soil covering and any associated surface waters, over which ownership rights are enforced and from which economic benefits can be derived by their owners by holding or using them.

Liability

Is an obligation which requires one unit (the debtor) to make a payment or a series of payments to the other unit (the creditor) in certain circumstances specified in a contract between them.

Listed shares

Equity securities listed on an exchange.

Loans

Borrowings which are not evidenced by the issue of debt securities, and are not usually traded and their value does not decline even in a period of rising interest rates.

Long-term debt securities

Debt securities with an original term to maturity of more than one year. They include Treasury bonds, semi-government securities, corporate securities, asset backed bonds and convertible notes prior to conversion. Long-term debt securities also include subordinated debt.

Machinery and equipment

Includes transport equipment and other machinery and equipment, other than that acquired by households for final consumption.

Monetary gold

Treated as a financial asset. Monetary gold is gold owned by monetary authorities (or others subject to effective control by monetary authorities) that is held as a financial asset and as a component of official reserves. Other gold held by any entity (including non-reserve gold held by monetary authorities and all gold held by financial institutions other than the central bank) is treated as a commodity.

Money market funds (MMFs)

Invest in transferable debt instruments with a residual maturity of not more than one year, bank deposits and instruments that pursue a rate of return that approaches the interest rates of money market instruments.

National saving

Calculated as the sum of the net saving of each of the resident sectors-households and unincorporated enterprises, non-financial corporations, financial corporations and general government.

Natural resources

Non-produced non-financial assets consisting of land, mineral and energy resources, native standing timber and radio spectra.

Net equity in reserves

Represents policy-holders’ claims on life insurance businesses and pension funds. These technical reserves are calculated by deducting all repayable liabilities from the value of total assets.

Net errors and omissions

The difference between net lending or borrowing in the capital account and the net change in financial position in the financial account.

Net financial investment

Represents the use of Financing resources on financial assets and liabilities. See also Change in financial position.

Net lending (+)/net borrowing (-)

The residual item in the capital account which shows each sector's net acquisition of financial assets. It is calculated as Gross saving and capital transfers less Total capital accumulation. In concept it is the same as the item Net change in financial position in the financial account.

Net lending to non-residents

The excess of net acquisition of financial assets in the rest of the world by resident institutional units over their net incurrence of liabilities in the rest of the world.

Net saving

Balancing item of the income account, this is equal to total income receivable less total income payable, final consumption expenditure and consumption of fixed capital. Represents the excess of income over consumption.

Net worth

In the national and sectoral balance sheets, net worth represents the difference between the stock of assets (both financial and non-financial) and the stock of liabilities (including shares and other equity). Because it is derived residually, it can be negative.

Neutral holding gains/losses

The value of the holding gain that would accrue if the price of the asset changed in the same proportion as the general price level.

Nominal holding gains/losses

On a given quantity of asset, it is the value of the benefit accruing to the owner of that asset as a result of a change in its price or, more generally, its monetary value, over time.

Non-dwelling construction

Consists of non-residential buildings and other structures. ‘Non-residential buildings’ are buildings other than dwellings, including fixtures, facilities and equipment that are integral parts of the structures and costs of site clearance and preparation.

‘Other structures’ are structures other than buildings, including streets, sewers and site clearance and preparation other than for residential or non-residential buildings. Also included are shafts, tunnels and other structures associated with the extraction of mineral and energy resources. Major improvements to land, such as dams, are also included.

Non-farm inventories

All inventories except those classified to farm and public authorities inventories.

Non-financial assets

Are assets for which no corresponding liabilities are recorded.

Non-financial corporations

Corporations whose principal activity is the production of market goods or non-financial services.

Non-money market financial investment funds (NMMF)

Invest in financial assets other than short-term assets.

Non-produced assets

Non-financial assets that come into existence other than through processes of production. Non-produced assets that occur in nature is where ownership has been enforced or transferred. Environmental assets over which ownership rights have not, or cannot, be enforced, such as international waters or air space, are excluded. They consist of Natural resources (such as land, mineral and energy resources, native standing timber and radio spectra); Contracts, leases and licences; and Purchased goodwill and marketing assets. Purchased goodwill and marketing assets are not included in the ASNA.

Non-profit institutions

Legal or social entities created for the purpose of producing goods or services whose status does not permit them to be a source of income, profit or other financial gain for the units that establish, control or finance them.

Novation

The transfer of an entity’s rights and obligations under a contract to a new counterparty.

One name paper

Includes promissory notes, treasury notes and certificate of deposits issued by banks.

Options

Contracts that give the purchaser the right, but not the obligation, to buy (a ‘call’ option) or to sell (a ‘put’ option) a particular financial instrument or commodity at a predetermined price (the ‘strike’ price) within a given time span (American option) or on a given date (European option).

Other accounts receivable/payable

This term is used in two ways. Firstly it is the financial asset consisting of two subordinate classifications: ‘trade credit and advances’, and ‘other accounts receivable/payable’. Alternatively, the item can refer to the actual classification ‘other accounts receivable/payable’.

Accounts receivable and payable include items other than those in the previous paragraph (e.g. in respect of taxes, dividends, purchases and sales of securities, rent, wages and salaries and social contributions). Interest accruing that is not capitalised in the underlying asset may be included.

Other changes in real net wealth

Calculated as the sum of real holding gains, net capital transfers and other changes in the volume of assets.

Other changes in real net wealth - other differences

These arise due to a different treatment of stock and flow concepts between the balance sheet and capital account estimates. Net capital formation in the balance sheet includes plantation standing timber inventories. These are included in the change in net worth in the balance sheet and excluded from the capital account.

Other changes in volume of assets

Changes in the value of assets and liabilities over the accounting period arising from events other than transactions and revaluations.

Other deposits

Comprise all claims, other than transferable deposits, that are represented by evidence of deposit. Typical forms of deposits that should be included are savings deposits (which are always non-transferable), fixed-term deposits and non-negotiable certificates of deposit.

Ownership transfer costs

Consists of fees paid to lawyers, fees and commissions paid to real estate agents and auctioneers, stamp duty, Title Office charges and local government charges. Ownership transfer costs in the ASNA relate to dwellings and non-dwelling construction.

Pension fund claims on life insurance corporations reserves

Represents pension funds’ net equity in, or claims on, life insurance corporation reserves.

Placements

Customers’ account balances with entities not regarded as deposit-taking institutions. Examples are account balances of State and local public non-financial corporations with their central borrowing authorities, of public sector pension funds with their State Treasuries, and 11am money placed with corporate treasuries.

Prepayments of premiums and reserves against outstanding claims

Reserves in the form of prepayments of premiums which result from the fact that, in general, insurance premiums are paid in advance. Such reserves are assets of the policy-holders.

Reserves against outstanding claims are reserves that insurance enterprises hold in order to cover the amounts they expect to pay out in respect of claims that are not yet settled or claims that may be disputed. Reserves against outstanding claims are considered to be assets of the beneficiaries.

Primary and secondary markets

Investors which purchase securities from the issuer (or from a member of the issuer’s dealer panel) are said to buy in the primary market. If these securities are subsequently sold by those investors, the sales are said to occur in the secondary market.

Produced assets

Non-financial assets that have come into existence as outputs from production processes. Produced assets consist of fixed assets, inventories and valuables. However, valuables are not included in the ASNA.

Professional funds manager

An agent which invests monies on behalf of clients in return for fees. The assets managed by a professional funds manager are not on its balance sheet.

Public authorities inventories

Include estimates for general government, public non-financial corporations and public financial corporations. Recorded inventories include demonetised gold transactions (gold sales and gold loans) by the Reserve Bank of Australia and the construction of military equipment for export.

Public unit trust

A trust which issues units to the general public within Australia for the purpose of investing the pooled monies. A public unit trust must have registered a prospectus with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and be governed by a trust deed between its management company and a trustee company. The units may or may not be listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Real holding gains

The difference between the nominal holding gain/loss on assets and liabilities, and the neutral holding gain. It is the value of the additional command over real resources accruing to the holder of an asset as a result of a change in its price relative to the prices of goods and services in the economy.

Repo

A repurchase agreement (repo) involves the sale of securities or other assets with a commitment to repurchase equivalent assets at a specified date.

Residence

The residence of each institutional unit is the economic territory with which it has the strongest connection, in other words, its centre of predominant economic interest.

Rest of the world

Consists of all non-resident institutional units that enter into transactions with resident units, or have other economic links with resident units.

Revaluations

Holding gains or losses arising from changes in the market prices of assets and liabilities during the accounting period.

Services from consumer durables

Represents the value of services provided by consumer durables to the household in the accounting period. It arises because consumer durables, unlike other final consumption goods, are not used up in the accounting period in which they are purchased. It is measured in the same way as consumption of fixed capital, i.e. as the reduction in value of the stock of consumer durables during the accounting period resulting from physical deterioration, normal obsolescence or normal accidental damage. Unforeseen obsolescence is not taken into account.

Short selling

Refers to the practice of selling securities one does not have. To settle the trade, securities need to be purchased or borrowed.

Short-term debt securities

Debt securities with an original maturity of one year or less. They include bills of exchange, promissory notes (also called ‘one name paper’), Treasury notes and bank certificates of deposit.

Special Drawing Rights (SDRs)

These are financial assets. In Australia, the SDR allocation is recorded by the central government and the SDR asset is recorded by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). The RBA has a deposit liability to the central government. SDRs are international reserve assets created by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and allocated to its member States to supplement existing reserve assets.

Statistical discrepancy (I), (E) and (P)

For years in which a balanced supply and use table is available to benchmark the national accounts, the same measure of GDP is obtained regardless of whether one sums incomes, expenditures or gross value added for each industry. For other years, however, statistical discrepancies between the measures remain. The differences between those three separate estimates and the single measure of GDP for those years are called statistical discrepancy (I), statistical discrepancy (E) and statistical discrepancy (P), respectively.

Stock lending

The terms securities lending or stock lending are used in securities markets to describe arrangements whereby issuers or asset-holders or both (called stock lenders) provide securities to other market participants (called stock borrowers) in return for a fee.

Subordinated debt

Debt that is not repayable until other specified liabilities have been settled. For example, the subordinated debt of banks (also called second-tier capital) is not repayable until the demands of depositors for repayment have been satisfied.

Swaps

Contractual arrangements between two parties who agree to exchange, according to predetermined rules, streams of payment on the same amount of indebtedness over time. The two most prevalent varieties are interest rate swaps and currency swaps. For example, an interest rate swap involves an exchange of interest payments of different character, such as fixed rates for floating rate, two different floating rates, fixed rate in one currency and floating rate in another etc.

Synthetic instrument

A tailored financial product which combines a primary financial instrument (such as a parcel of bills of exchange) with a derivative instrument (such as a forward rate agreement).

Term to maturity

In these statistics, debt securities are classified into short term (equal to or less than one year) or long term (greater than one year) according to their original term to maturity (sometimes called tenor) rather than the time remaining until maturity. The original term to maturity is the time period from the issue of a security until the principal becomes due for repayment.

Transaction

An economic flow that is an interaction between institutional units by mutual agreement or an action within an institutional unit that it is analytically useful to treat like a transaction.

Transferable deposits

Comprise all deposits that are exchangeable for banknotes and coins on demand at par and without penalty or restriction, and directly usable for making payments by cheque, draft, direct debit/credit or other direct payment facility.

Unincorporated enterprise

An unincorporated enterprise represents the production activity of government units, non-profit institutions serving households, or households that cannot be treated as the production activity of a quasi-corporation.

Unlisted shares

Equity securities not listed on an exchange. Unlisted shares can also be called private equity. Venture capital usually takes this form.

Wholesale trusts

Usually they are only open to institutional investors (e.g. life insurance companies, superannuation trusts, public unit trusts) and high net worth individuals due to high entry levels. However some are open to the public via distribution channels such as platforms. They may issue a prospectus but more commonly issue only an information memorandum.

Quality declaration - summary

Institutional environment

Australian National Accounts: Finance and Wealth statistics are produced using information from a wide range of data sources. These include administrative data from various government organisations and ABS survey data. Typically, administrative data are collected for reasons other than statistical analysis, such as administration and enforcement of government policy. Data are extensively analysed by the ABS to ensure they are of appropriate quality for inclusion in ABS statistics.

For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.

Relevance

The standards governing national accounts are agreed internationally and detailed in the "System of National Accounts 2008" (2008 SNA). 2008 SNA is endorsed by the five major international economic organisations: the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the OECD, the World Bank and the European Commission. The current complete version of 2008 SNA is available on–line: http://unstats.un.org/unsd/nationalaccount/sna2008.asp.

The Australian national accounts differ from the recommendations in the 2008 SNA in certain cases where the data is not available to meet these requirements, or it is not considered appropriate to adhere to the standards. For more information on the differences between the Australian national accounts and the 2008 SNA please see Australian System of National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5216.0). In addition to 2008 SNA, the concepts employed include elements drawn from the classifications used in the International Monetary Fund's (IMF), sixth edition of the Balance of Payments Manual (BPM6), the IMF's Government Finance Statistics Manual 2001, and the IMF's Manual on Monetary and Financial Statistics 2000.

Timeliness

The quarterly Australian National Accounts: Finance and Wealth are compiled using data from three consecutive months (e.g. January, February and March), with the stock levels compiled as at the last day of the quarter (e.g. 31 March). The data is released on the last Thursday of the quarter following the reference period (e.g. data for the March quarter will be released on the last Thursday of June).

The ABS uses several estimation methods to account for the less timely source data. Extrapolation methods are used to project particular series forward until survey or administrative results are available. Similarly, when data sources or data models provide data on a less frequent basis than quarterly, data are interpolated between periods to obtain sufficiently frequent estimates.

Accuracy

Accuracy remains the main focus of ABS quality control. However, in the case of the national accounts, it is recognised internationally that an objective accuracy measure in the sense of proximity to the ‘true value’ is impossible to produce. The national accounts are a highly complex set of economic statistics. They combine a very large number of internal and external data sources to derive the estimates in this release. Given the variety of data used, and the transformations and aggregations used in the national accounts process, an assessment of accuracy is necessarily subjective and indirect. It involves an assessment of the national accounts process, the input data and the transformations used to produce the national accounts. The ABS aims to achieve best practice in each of these facets of national accounts compilation.

Sound data collection and methodological systems, conformity to international standard frameworks and the use of analytical tools all contribute to high quality outputs. The ABS ensures that survey based information are designed, tested and evaluated to a high quality standard. Some of these survey based data together with administrative data collected by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) are used in the compilation of Australian National Accounts: Finance and Wealth. Of particular importance are the ABS Survey of Financial Information (SFI) and the Survey of International Investment (SII), both of which are conducted quarterly. Generally, data based on administrative data sources are subject to classification, processing, coverage and timing adjustments and modelling as appropriate. Where possible, data are validated against independent sources both within the ABS and externally to ensure significant transactions are reflected appropriately.

Coherence

The ABS publishes large amounts of data on many aspects of the economy. Significant amount of the data used to compile Australian National Accounts: Finance and Wealth are from administrative data from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), ABS Survey of Financial Information (SFI) and the ABS Survey of International Investment (SII), and are therefore consistent with the published information in the Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, Australia (cat. no. 5302.0) and Managed Funds, Australia (cat. no. 5655.0). While there may be, for example some differences in data classifications, there are formal processes in place to ensure that the staff from areas providing data and national accounts staff, come to a common view of the statistical treatment of current economic events.

Australian National Accounts: Finance and Wealth statistics are also consistent and reconcilable with external data sources such as the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) market capitalisation, Australian Office of Financial Management (AOFM) data (e.g. government bond issuances) and Reserve Bank bulletin tables (e.g. components of credit aggregates).

In concept, the net lending/borrowing derived from the capital account is identical to the change in financial position derived from the financial account. However, in practice, this equality is rarely achieved and the extent to which the measures are different is represented in the item 'net errors and omissions'. On a sectoral basis, the ABS maintains net errors and omissions close to zero for the national general government and rest of the world sectors.

Interpretability

Australian National Accounts: Finance and Wealth contains capital accounts and financial profiles of each sector and some sub-sectors of the economy and the market for each conventional financial instrument. There are tables showing intersectoral financial transactions and measures of sectoral financial surpluses and deficits. Analysis and commentary is also included with each publication to provide more information and discussion of the estimates. For further information, please refer to Australian System of National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5216.0).

Accessibility

Comprehensive quarterly Australian National Accounts: Finance and Wealth statistics are available free of charge from the ABS website. The publication is available in web format only along with time series spreadsheets for major data series. The ABS website contains analysis of the latest data and supporting graphs and charts.

For links to all national accounts related data and publications, recent national accounts changes and forthcoming events, relevant websites and a range of other information about the Australian National Accounts, please see the National Accounts Statistics homepage.

The Australian National Accounts: Finance and Wealth tables in Excel spreadsheets can be downloaded from the Data downloads section.

Abbreviations

Show all

$mmillion dollars
$bbillion (thousand million) dollars
ABCPasset backed commercial paper
ABSAustralian Bureau of Statistics
ADIAuthorised deposit taking institution
APRAAustralian Prudential Regulation Authority
ASNAAustralian System of National Account
ASXAustralian Stock Exchange
CLFcommitted liquidity facility
FISIMfinancial intermediation services indirectly measured
GDPGross domestic product
GFCglobal financial crisis
GFCFgross fixed capital formation
MMFMoney market funds
OECDOrganisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
PNFCprivate non-financial corporation
RBAReserve Bank of Australia
RMBSresidential mortgage backed securities
SDRsSpecial drawing rights
SESCAStandard Economic Sector Classification of Australia
SNA08System of National Accounts 2008 version
SPVspecial purpose vehicle