The Magyar Nemzeti Bank has started to elaborate the new data collection system of balance of payments statistics. Although the new system will enter into effect only from 2008, the MNB is already making significant efforts to inform the specialists of companies concerned. Preparations are needed because data providers will have to regroup their resources, which already has to be planned for 2007. For supplying good-quality data, the new reporting system needs to be known thoroughly. Therefore, the MNB initiated a continuous professional dialogue.

In November and December the Magyar Nemzeti Bank invited more than 650 corporations to the meetings where they were informed about the details of the new balance of payments data collection system. The participants could learn about many practical tasks and discuss details which will affect their work related to their data reporting in the future.

Balance of payments statistics are of key importance from points of view of the country’s reputation and investors’ decisions; it is a significant economic indicator, which will preserve its role even after Hungary’s joining the euro area. In the European Union, balance of payments statistics are regulated in a Regulation by the European Parliament and the Council. In Hungary, the Central Bank Act defines that the MNB collects and publishes statistical information required for carrying out its tasks, whereas the data reporting obligation is ordered by a decree of the Governor of the MNB. Therefore, based on the above, data supply for the economic agents concerned is mandatory.

At present, the MNB compiles the balance of payments mainly on the basis of settlement information received from domestic banks and direct surveys collected by the Central Statistical Office. In the future, however, companies concerned will have to supply data reports directly on all transactions vis-a-vis foreign partners to the MNB and the CSO.

Although the new system will enter into effect only on 1 January 2008, the Bank’s experts say that it is already time to get prepared for it, as not only the new requirements have to become known, but it is also conceivable that some companies will have to carry out IT developments, which needs to be planned in time. As part of the preparation, in addition to meetings, the MNB has sent newsletters containing the most important pieces of information to more than 2,500 companies concerned, and this will continue next year. From April 2007, the testing of the new data reception and data processing IT systems and data supplies will start. For a smooth change-over to the new system, the MNB will continue the dialogue with the data providers next year as well.

Within the framework of the new data collection system, economic agents will supply the Bank with information about their holdings of financial assets and related transactions vis-a-vis the rest of the world. The MNB’s surveys will cover only those transactions which do not have to be reported to the CSO. The focus is on six main subjects: transfers and intangible, intellectual assets, direct investments, portfolio investments, financial derivatives, other investments and informative balance sheet data.

The objective of the change-over is cost-effectiveness at whole-economy level, but from the process which has been started the MNB also expects higher-quality statistical data and a reduction in the burdens on data providers. Meanwhile, the Bank strives to optimise the social burdens of the data supply, i.e. to minimize the burden of the data supply to necessary level.  

In the future, an economic organisation will be obliged to report monthly balance of payments data if it is designated to do so and informed accordingly by the MNB. In addition, any economic organisation will be obliged to supply quarterly balance of payments data, if its transactions vis-a-vis the rest of the world exceed the value-limit criteria laid down in the relevant MNB Decree, which data providers will have to follow with attention themselves.

International experience also confirms the necessity of transforming the system, because despite possible cost increases for some companies, the total burden on the whole society will decline following the introduction in any case.

In the course of the change-over the Magyar Nemzeti Bank will continuously pay special attention to the detailed presentation of the new data collection system, interpretation and clarification of professional issues, as well as making data reporting tasks as smooth as possible. Bank staff are ready to answer relevant questions (e-mail: Detailed and up-to-date information is permanently available on the website of the Magyar Nemzeti Bank at