Example estimate from the balance of payments accounts: Transactions in securities other than U.S. Treasury securities
Portfolio investmentthat is, securities transactions between U.S. and unaffiliated foreign residents other than foreign official agenciesis measured in two capital accounts: "U.S. securitiesnet foreign purchases," which was $80.1 billion in 1993, and "foreign securitiesnet U.S. purchases," which was $120.0 billion.
The securities covered are stocks and bonds with an original maturity of more than 1 year. The accounts cover new issues in the United States and abroad as well as trading in, and redemptions of, outstanding U.S. and foreign securities.
The primary source data are from the U.S. Department of the Treasury's International Capital reporting systemspecifically, the monthly S form, "Purchases and Sales of Long-Term Securities by Foreigners." Filing of S forms is required for all securities brokers, dealers, and other persons in the United States who, on their own behalf or on behalf of customers, engage in transactions in long-term securities with foreigners.
The methodology described in the table below (which follows the order of the standard quarterly balance of payments tables) is for "foreign securitiesnet U.S. purchases"; the methodology for "U.S. securitiesnet foreign purchases" is similar.
In the context of the discussion of sources and methods, there are several points of interest:
Source data coverage: The S form covers mainly intermediated transactions; however, direct transactions for large pension and investment managers are covered.
Role of estimating methods: BEA makes numerous adjustments, some from fragmentary data, to arrive at the needed coverage (for example, with respect to coverage of commissions, taxes, and other charges) and timing (for example, transactions not yet recorded in S-form data).
Relations among the estimates: Positionsthat is, outstanding holdingsthat correspond to these capital flows are shown in the net international investment position; the positions are estimated by cumulating the capital flows from periodic benchmark survey-based levels and adjusting for price change. (The positions, along with an estimated representative yield, are used to estimate income flows for the current account of the balance of payments.) Net U.S. purchases of foreign stocks (line 2): BEA estimates net transactions in outstanding stocks (line 4) as follows:
BEA estimates new foreign issues (line 3) on the basis of financial market information.
Net U.S. purchases of foreign bonds (line 5): BEA estimates net transactions in outstanding bonds other than redemptions (line 8) as follows:
BEA estimates new foreign issues (line 6) on the basis of financial market information, with separate estimates by type of issuer.
BEA estimates bond redemptions (line 7) from information on scheduled retirements.
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, The Balance of Payments of the United States: Concepts, Data Sources, and Estimating Procedures (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, May 1990) as updated in the June issues of the SURVEY OF CURRENT BUSINESS, 199194.