The main purpose of European Central Bank (ECB) statistics is to support the monetary policy of the ECB and other tasks of the Eurosystem and the European System of Central Banks (ESCB).
In compiling statistics, the ECB is assisted by the national central banks, or NCBs. The NCBs (and, in some cases, other national authorities) collect data from credit institutions and other sources in their respective countries and calculate aggregates at the national level, which they send to the ECB. The ECB then compiles the aggregates for the euro area.
This note provides a brief overview of the governance structure guiding the provision of statistics by the European System of Central Banks (ESCB), which comprises the European Central Bank (ECB) and the national central banks (NCBs) of the Member States of the European Union.
Each month, the ECB compiles and disseminates a wide range of monetary statistics and indicators, including the broad measure of the money supply known as "M3", its components (banknotes and coins, short-term deposits and other items) and its counterpart assets, notably credit and longer-term liabilities. It also adjusts the monthly statistics to take account of seasonal factors, which makes it easier to analyse trends.
The monetary aggregates and their counterparts are calculated from the balance sheet of the monetary financial institution (MFI) sector, which is also published monthly. MFIs are institutions – such as banks – that receive deposits or issue very short-term securities and extend credit or invest in securities on their own account. This definition goes beyond that of "credit institutions" in European Community law (since it includes money market funds and some other types of institution). The ECB and NCBs provide lists of financial institutions meeting the definition. The MFI balance sheet statistics are also used to calculate the minimum reserve requirements these institutions must fulfil, which is one of the tools of the ECB's monetary policy operations.
The ECB also compiles harmonised statistics on interest rates paid and charged by MFIs in their business with households and enterprises in the euro area.
It also publishes information on financial institutions outside the MFI sector, including non-money market investment funds, given the close connections between their activities and MFI business.
Moreover, the ECB compiles detailed monthly data on debt securities and quoted shares, covering issues, redemptions and amounts outstanding. It also publishes structural indicators on the banking sector and investment funds in the euro area, various indicators of financial soundness, and statistics on the volume and value of payments in the euro area.
The ECB continues to develop common methodologies for calculating comparable statistical indicators for the euro area's financial markets. This also helps to monitor financial market integration.
The ECB publishes a monthly balance of payments (b.o.p.) for the euro area, showing the main transactions between euro area residents and residents of countries outside the euro area. The monthly b.o.p. is supplemented by more detailed quarterly and annual statistics. A consistent methodological framework allows the analysis of monetary and b.o.p. statistics for the euro area to be integrated. The monetary presentation of the b.o.p., which the ECB has published since June 2003, provides a link between the foreign transactions of parties other than banks in the euro area and the money supply in the euro area.
In addition, the ECB publishes monthly statistics on its and the Eurosystem's international reserves and foreign currency liquidity, and annual statistics on the international investment position (i.i.p.) of the euro area, which provides an overall picture of the euro area's claims on and liabilities to the rest of the world. The aggregates covering the euro area include credits and debits and assets and liabilities separately. In contrast to national b.o.p./i.i.p. which include all transactions and positions of a national economy, i.e. including those vis-à-vis other residents of the euro area, the euro area countries report transactions and positions with residents in countries outside the euro area as a contribution to the aggregates. The ECB also compiles statistics on the international role of the euro and effective exchange rate indices for the euro, in nominal and real terms, using various deflators.
Quarterly euro area accounts by institutional sector (EAA) have been published by the ECB and the European Commission (Eurostat) since June 2007. They constitute the capstone of euro area statistics, presenting a comprehensive overview of economic and financial developments in the euro area, including a consistent breakdown by institutional sector, following the principles as laid out in the European system of national and regional accounts (ESA 95).
The EAA cover all economic and financial transactions and financial balance sheet positions of households, non-financial corporations, financial corporations and government, as well as their economic and financial relations with the Rest of the world. This permits an integrated analysis of non-financial economic activity (such as gross fixed capital formation) and financial transactions (such as the issuance of debt) as well as an analysis of portfolio shift in the financial balance sheets due to transactions and other flows (such as revaluations). From the point of view of statistics compilers, the EAA also allow for cross-checking the consistency of the high-frequency data provided by money and financial, balance of payments, capital market, and government finance statistics."
To carry out the analysis required for monetary policy, the ECB and the ESCB need comprehensive and reliable government finance statistics based on the ESA 95. Government finance statistics form an important part of the integrated system of sectoral non-financial and financial accounts for the euro area. The annual government finance data are given in three major tables showing time series on i) revenue and expenditure, ii) government debt and iii) the relationship between the government deficit and the change in government debt for each EU country as well as euro area and EU totals. To compile such totals, additional information is needed on transactions between the Member States and the European Community institutions.
The ECB defines price stability, its primary objective, in terms of the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) for the euro area. It also publishes a wide range of statistics on prices and costs, national accounts, the labour markets, external trade and various other general economic statistics. The prime responsibility for this type of statistics lies with the European Commission. The ECB works closely with the Commission (Eurostat) in order to develop harmonised statistical concepts and achieve regularly available, good quality euro area statistics.
There is data where compromises have to be made in terms of the high quality standards that the ECB and ESCB adhere to. For transparency reasons such data is also made available on this website. To mark it clearly it is called "experimental data". More about Experimental data.
The protection of statistical confidentiality is of paramount importance to the statistical work of the ECB and the ESCB, see:
A report is prepared, on a yearly basis, on the compliance by all ESCB members during the previous period.
Summary of the last confidentiality report: Statistical confidentiality protection in the ESCB - Confidentiality Report (last update: 16 May 2013)
A wide range of statistics is published in monthly and quarterly Statistical press releases and in the "Euro area statistics" section of the ECB's Monthly Bulletin. Statistics on recent economic developments in the euro area and the EU Member States are also summarised in the ECB's practically sized Statistics Pocket Book. The Pocket Book also contains various comparisons of the euro area, the EU, the United States and Japan. To receive these publications free of charge, please write to email@example.com.
All statistics can also be found in this website section, including detailed documentation on the used definitions and concepts and all relevant legal acts. To calculate aggregates yourself, please see the Statistical Data Warehouse.