PRESS RELEASE

First release of euro area accounts for institutional sectors (1999-2004)

31 May 2006

The European Central Bank (ECB) and Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities, are today publishing for the first time a set of annual European accounts for institutional sectors covering the period 1999 – 2004.

The ECB is publishing integrated non-financial and financial accounts, including financial balance sheets, for the institutional sectors in the euro area (households, non-financial corporations, financial corporations and government). The accounts provide comprehensive information on the economic activities of euro area households and corporations. These new statistics will allow a further deepening of the economic and monetary analyses of the euro area.

Eurostat is publishing the non-financial accounts for the euro area, the European Union and the individual Member States.

The accounts for the institutional sectors follow the methodology of the European System of Accounts 1995 (ESA 95). They provide a comprehensive overview of the euro area/European Union as a single economy and allow for a wide-ranging analysis of the interactions among households, non-financial corporations, financial corporations and government. The accounts also show interactions between these sectors in the euro area/European Union and the rest of the world. The euro area/European Union accounts are based on, but are not the simple sum of, the national accounts of the Member States.

All transactions between institutional sectors have been grouped into economically meaningful categories, such as compensation of employees, interest payments, taxes on income, and consumption expenditure, as well as transactions in financial assets and liabilities such as deposits, loans and shares. In turn, these transaction categories have been grouped into a coherent and comprehensive system of interlinked accounts.

The euro area accounts incorporate financial balance sheets for the institutional sectors, including their claims on and liabilities to non-residents of the euro area. These balance sheets show the outstanding amounts of financial assets and liabilities for each sector at the beginning and end of the year, valued at market prices and broken down by financial instrument. The changes in financial balance sheets in the course of a year stem from the acquisition of financial assets, the incurrence of liabilities and other changes, mainly revaluations due to changes in the market prices of financial instruments. The resulting net financial wealth (financial assets minus liabilities) of households, non-financial corporations, financial corporations and government is also shown. The external account corresponds to the euro area international investment position and the balance of payments.

In summary, the annual accounts include the value of goods and services each institutional sector produced, how its income was earned, whether the income was spent or saved, whether the sector was in deficit or surplus, how its borrowing needs were met and which financial assets it acquired. The external account shows the relationship between the euro area/European Union and the global economy. The accounts include key macroeconomic indicators, such as gross value added or gross domestic product, operating surplus, disposable income, saving and net lending/net borrowing.

The availability of annual euro area/European Union accounts is in itself a milestone in the development of European statistics. These accounts will be followed by the regular publication of quarterly euro area/European Union accounts from spring 2007, which will provide structural information on the European economy and give a better insight into the business cycle.

The euro area accounts are available at http://www.ecb.europa.eu (ECB) and can be downloaded as tables (pdf files) and csv files. Non-financial accounts for the euro area, the European Union and the Member States can be downloaded from http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (Eurostat). More detailed information about this first release produced jointly by the ECB and Eurostat is available on the same websites.

Media contacts