PRESS RELEASE

Publication of the “Blue Book” statistical addendum incorporating 2005 data

22 December 2006

The European Central Bank (ECB) is today publishing a statistical addendum to its publication on payment and securities settlement systems in the European Union (EU) and in the acceding countries, which is also known as the Blue Book. The statistical addendum provides data for the period from 2001 to 2005. This publication has been produced in close cooperation with the central banks of the EU and the acceding countries.

The Blue Book provides a comprehensive description of the main payment and securities clearing and settlement systems in the EU and acceding countries. The statistics on these systems are updated every year in the “Blue Book Addendum”. This Addendum begins with an overview for all countries, followed by tables for the euro area as a whole, for selected international systems and for each of the EU and acceding countries. The publication concludes with detailed explanatory notes which explain the purpose and structure of and enhanced reporting requirements for the statistics.

As a consequence of the continued efforts of the ECB and the central banks of the EU and the acceding countries, this Blue Book Addendum is more timely and comprehensive, and its payments statistics adhere to a greater extent to the reporting requirements. Moreover, the statistics on central securities depositories (Country tables 13 to 15) follow an enhanced methodology for the most recent reference periods and contain more comprehensive breakdowns. Work on statistics for securities clearing and trading systems is nearing completion.

The comparability of some payments data over time and across countries is, at present, still limited. This is documented in each country chapter. In particular, the recording of payments with non-standardised payment instruments is not yet fully harmonised. For the same reason, some data for 2004 and 2005 have not been included in Comparative tables 6 to 9.7.

The Blue Book and the Blue Book Addendum can be downloaded from the ECB’s website (http://www.ecb.europa.eu/paym/market/blue/). Printed versions will be available from each of the EU and acceding country central banks, as well as from the ECB (at the address indicated below), as from January/February 2007.

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