Magyar Nemzeti Bank to introduce new statistical data collection system in 2008

The Magyar Nemzeti Bank, the national institution responsible for the compilation of Hungarian balance of payments statistics, has undertaken work on the development of a new data collection system based on direct reporting, in cooperation with the Hungarian Central Statistical Office.

The need to overhaul the system for collecting balance of payments data is explained primarily by the recent changes in the European regulatory environment. In addition, the continuous increase in data needs also makes it necessary to place more emphasis on direct reporting. One of the key motivations for the changeover to the new reporting system is to reduce the overall public costs, the effects of which will be felt particularly in the case of monthly data series.

Reporting data for the purposes of compiling the Hungarian balance of payments is currently based on the provision of transaction codes for cross-border payments, which, in turn, is built mainly on reports by credit institutions. Regulation (EC) No 2560/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 December 2001 on cross-border payments in euro defines an upper limit, above which reporting balance of payments data is compulsory. Currently, this reporting limit is EUR 12,500, which is expected to rise to EUR 50,000 in the near future.

Due to the above factors, Member States of the European Union have been continuously transforming their arrangements for collecting balance of payments data in recent years. Currently, there are data collection systems based on direct reporting in 10 Member States; and other Members will similarly introduce their own new systems in the near term.

The MNB, in its capacity as the compiler of national balance of payments statistics, must make every effort in order to supply statistical data of adequate quality to domestic and foreign users in the changed environment.

Developing the new data collection system has required defining an optimal combination of three different factors: (i) requirements on the quality of statistical data, (ii) the costs related to produce statistics and (iii) statistical standards to be met by the reporting country (degree of detail, as well as geographical and industry breakdown).

The decision to overhaul the data collection system has been made after an in-depth analysis of other Member States’ data collection systems and in compliance with European Union directives. The new system is expected to be introduced on 1 January 2008; however, preparatory work must start now.

Introducing the new balance of payments system will require different resources from data reporting entities, depending on the type and size of the given entity, as well on its involvement in reporting balance of payments data. While requiring entities to collect data under the new method, the MNB will seek to optimise the costs of data reporting for society as a whole, i.e. to limit to the necessary the burden on data providing entities. Despite this, changing over to the new system may entail a rise or stagnation in data collection costs for individual data providers, as a consequence of the extent and nature of changes. However, international experience shows that the overall public costs inevitably fall over the longer term.

During the period of changeover, the Magyar Nemzeti Bank will be paying special attention to present the data collection procedure in detail. Bank staff are ready to answer questions which may arise (e-mail: Detailed and up-to-date information linked to the programme will be made available continuously on the Magyar Nemzeti Bank’s website at