Chronicling 100 Years of the U.S. Economy

July 2020
Volume 100, Number 7

How BEA Aligns and Augments Source Data from the U.S. Treasury Department for Inclusion in the International Transactions Accounts


Like most of the U.S. economic accounts produced by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), the statistics on financial-account transactions in the International Transactions Accounts (ITAs) are based largely on source data collected by other federal government agencies—in this case, by the Treasury International Capital (TIC) reporting system of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. BEA makes adjustments to align the data with balance-of-payments concepts and to close gaps in coverage in preparing statistics for the financial account. This report explains these adjustments to help data users reconcile BEA financial-account statistics with the TIC data available to the public on the Treasury Department's TIC website.

The relationships between the statistics in the ITAs and the data from the TIC reporting system are shown in tables 1 and 2, which identify the adjustments that BEA makes to the TIC source data. Table 1 presents statistics on transactions in portfolio investment assets and liabilities (equity and debt securities). Table 2 presents statistics on transactions in other investment assets and liabilities, including currency, deposits, loans, and trade credit and advances.

Aligning with Balance-of-Payments Concepts

Holdings of U.S. assets and liabilities reported in the TIC system are the basis of BEA statistics on portfolio investment and are the largest component of BEA statistics on other investment assets and liabilities. To impute balance-of-payments transactions from the reported holdings, BEA removes from the total quarterly change in holdings the quarterly changes in holdings that do not result from transactions. As explained in greater detail in U.S. International Economic Accounts: Concepts and Methods, BEA removes quarterly changes in holdings due to (1) changes in prices, (2) changes in exchange rates, and (3) changes in volume and value not included elsewhere (table 1, lines 5–7, 16–18, and 27–29, and table 2, lines 7, 8, 18, and 19).

BEA also aligns the TIC data with balance-of-payments concepts by removing changes in holdings that are already counted in other data sources for direct investment and reserve assets. For example, TIC balances that are reported by U.S. banks and securities brokers (table 2) also include claims on, and liabilities to, unincorporated branches by parent companies that are included in BEA direct investment surveys as direct investment equity. Changes in balances covered in BEA direct investment surveys are removed (table 2, lines 4 and 16). Foreign securities held as U.S. reserve assets are reported in TIC surveys of U.S. holdings of foreign securities with portfolio investment; changes in these reserve holdings are removed from portfolio investment (table 1, line 4).

In addition to removing changes in claims and liabilities that should be excluded from portfolio investment or other investment, BEA also separates transactions in short-term securities and negotiable certificates of deposit of any maturity from other investment and records them in portfolio investment (table 1, lines 9 and 20, and table 2, lines 6 and 17). The holdings of these types of portfolio investment are collected in the TIC system with other investment instruments, such as loans and deposits.

Closing Gaps in Coverage

Not all U.S. holdings of other investment are captured by the TIC reporting system. BEA closes gaps in the coverage of U.S. nonbanking concerns' claims and liabilities by supplementing TIC data with (1) estimates of U.S. claims based on data provided by the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation and (2) estimates of U.S. nonbanks' claims on, and liabilities to, foreign banks based on partner country counterparty data from foreign banking authorities (table 2, lines 9 and 20).

BEA also includes transactions in the other investment claims and liabilities of the U.S. central bank sector (the U.S. Federal Reserve System) and the U.S. general government that are not included in the TIC data, using data provided by the U.S. Federal Reserve System, the U.S. Department of Defense, and other U.S. government agencies (table 2, lines 11 and 22).

BEA produces quarterly and annual estimates of portfolio investment transactions based on data from the TIC survey Aggregate Holdings of Long-Term Securities by U.S. and Foreign Residents (TIC SLT), which are presented in table 1. BEA adopted this methodology in 2013 because it produces transactions estimates that are consistent with reported investment positions, significantly reducing unexplained changes in these positions and closing a gap in coverage that existed before the TIC SLT was introduced. Prior to the introduction of the TIC SLT, BEA estimated portfolio investment using the TIC survey Purchases and Sales of Long-Term Securities by Foreign-Residents (TIC S). BEA presents estimates of net U.S. acquisition of foreign stocks and bonds in line 8, net U.S. incurrence of portfolio liabilities through U.S. stocks and bonds in line 19, and net U.S. incurrence of portfolio liabilities through U.S. Treasury bonds in line 30.

The TIC system releases monthly transactions statistics on the net purchases of foreign stocks and bonds by U.S. residents and the net purchases of U.S. stocks and bonds by foreign residents and adjustments to these transactions to account for acquisitions of stocks through stock swaps and principal repayments for U.S. asset-backed securities. The transactions statistics are based on the TIC S. To inform the public about the differences between BEA estimates and the estimates released by the TIC system, U.S. net acquisition of long-term assets or U.S. net incurrence of long-term liabilities based on the TIC S are shown in lines 11, 22, and 33. The estimates based on the TIC S include adjustments for stock swaps and principal repayments for U.S. asset-backed securities, as appropriate. The differences between the BEA statistics and the adjusted TIC S net transactions are shown in lines 12, 23, and 34.