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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

FINANCIAL SERVICES (Reference: System of National Accounts 2008 Manual)

The reference rate to be used in the calculation of SNA interest is a rate between bank interest rates on deposits and loans. However, because there is no necessary equality between the level of loans and deposits, it should not be calculated as a simple average of the rates on loans or deposits though this is often the practice.  The reference rate should contain no service element and reflect the risk and maturity structure of deposits and loans. The rate prevailing for inter-bank borrowing and lending may be a suitable choice as a reference rate. However, different reference rates may be needed for each currency in which loans and deposits are denominated, especially when a non-resident financial institution is involved.

From the basic idea of financial intermediation emerges the concept of a “reference” rate of interest. The difference between the rate paid to banks by borrowers and the reference rate plus the difference between the reference rate and the rate actually paid to depositors represent charges for FISIM.

By convention the 2008 SNA recommends that FISIM applies only to loans and deposits and only when those loans and deposits are provided by, or deposited with, financial institutions. The 2008 SNA calculates the output of FISIM on loans (yL) and deposits (yD) only, using a reference rate (rr). Assuming that these loans and deposits attract interest rates of rL and rD respectively, the output of FISIM should be calculated according to the formula:

(rL – rr) yL + (rr – rD) yD.

This is the process whereby a financial institution such as a bank accepts deposits from units wishing to receive interest on funds for which the unit has no immediate use and lends them to other units whose funds are insufficient to meet their needs. The bank thus provides a mechanism to allow the first unit to lend to the second. Each of the two parties pays a fee to the bank for the service provided, the unit lending funds by accepting a rate of interest lower than that paid by the borrower, the difference being the combined fees implicitly charged by the bank to the depositor and to the borrower.

FISIM is an acronym for financial intermediation services indirectly measured.

As long as it can be identified as a separate institutional unit, the central bank is always included in the financial institutions sector and never in general government.

In principle, a distinction should be made between market and non-market output but in practice the possible resource intensiveness of the exercise and the relative importance of making the distinction should be considered before implementing the conceptual recommendations. In cases where market output is not separated from non-market output, the whole of the output of the central bank should be treated as non-market and valued at the sum of costs.

The services produced by the central bank are identified in three broad groups:

  • financial intermediation;
  • monetary policy services; and
  • supervisory services – overseeing financial corporations.

Financial intermediation services represent market production,

Monetary policy services represent non-market production

Borderline cases, such as supervisory services may be treated as market or non-market services depending on whether explicit fees are charged that are sufficient to cover the costs of providing such services.

It should be noted that the 2008 SNA recommends that separate establishments should be identified for units of the central bank undertaking production of these different services

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TRADE IN SERVICES

TIS statistics are compiled using both survey and administrative data, following principles and guidelines set out in the International Monetary Fund’s Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual, Sixth Edition (BPM6).
The Manual on Statistics of International Trade in Services 2010 (MSITS 2010) also sets out an internationally agreed framework for the compilation and reporting of statistics of international trade in services in a broad sense, which addresses the needs, including those of international trade negotiations and agreements, for more detailed, more comparable and more comprehensive statistics on this type of trade in its various forms.

TIS refer to service transactions between residents and non-residents.

The Manual on Statistics of International Trade in Services (MISTS2010) defines “services” as follows:

The term services covers a heterogeneous range of intangible products and activities that are difficult to encapsulate within a simple definition. Services are also often difficult to separate from the goods with which they may be associated in varying degrees. In general, MSITS 2010 respects the 2008 SNA use of the term services, which is defined as follows (2008 SNA, para. 6.17): Services are the result of a production activity that changes the conditions of the consuming units, or facilitates the exchange of products or financial assets. These types of service may be described as change-effecting services and margin services, respectively. Change-effecting services are outputs produced to order and typically consist of changes in the conditions of the consuming units realized by the activities of producers at the demand of the consumers. They can also be referred to as “transformation services”. Change-effecting services are not separate entities over which ownership rights can be established. They cannot be traded separately from their production. By the time their production is completed, they must have been
provided to the consumers.

The 2008 SNA (paras. 6.18 and 6.19) goes on to qualify transformation services as follows: The changes that consumers of services engage the producers to bring about can take a variety of different forms as follows:

  1. Changes in the condition of the consumer’s goods: the producer works directly on goods owned by the consumer by transporting, cleaning, repairing or otherwise transforming them;

 

  1. Changes in the physical condition of persons: the producer transports the persons, provides them with accommodation, provides them with medical or surgical treatments, improves their appearance, etc.;
  1. Changes in the mental condition of persons: the producer provides education, information, advice, entertainment or similar services in a face-to-face manner. The changes may be temporary or permanent. For example, medical or education services may result in permanent changes in the condition of the consumers from which benefits may be derived over many years. On the other hand, attending a football match is a short-lived experience. In general, the changes may be presumed to be improvements, as services are produced at the demand of the consumers. The improvements usually become embodied in the persons of the consumers or the goods they own and are not separate entities that belong to the producer. Such improvements cannot be held in inventories by the producer or traded separately from their production.

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