The external statistics include data on balance of payments, international investment position, external debt and foreign exchange reserves. The said statistics are key economic indicators, as they reflect the size and composition of a country’s external trade in goods and services as well as all its financial transactions with the rest of the world. They also provide information on the country’s international asset and liability position, including its external liquidity and debt. All these are important indicators in order to assess current and prospective developments in exchange rates and the country’s exposure to external risks. Balance of payments data are also important because they affect key economic aggregates such as the Gross National Product and the Gross Domestic Product.
Data on external statistics are collected and compiled by the Balance of Payments Section of the Statistics Department of the Central Bank of Cyprus, in accordance with the methodology and degree of analysis defined by the European Central Bank, the European Commission (Eurostat), and the International Monetary Fund.
The current statistical data collection and compilation system for external statistics can be classified as a direct reporting system coupled with the use of the International Transaction Reporting System (ITRS). More specifically, the Central Bank of Cyprus collects data from monetary financial institutions operating in Cyprus as regards transactions carried out between residents and non residents and complements the said data with surveys and direct reports from certain categories of resident entities with a significant volume of transactions with non residents. Moreover, the compilation of external statistics is supplemented by data and information collected from the Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE), the Department of Land and Surveys, the Ministry of Finance, the Statistical Service of Cyprus (CYSTAT), the audited financial statements of companies, statistical data produced by other departments of the Central Bank of Cyprus as well as other sources (e.g. the internet and the press).
Balance of payments data are produced monthly, quarterly and annually. The quarterly data are published three months after the end of the reference quarter. The first preliminary annual data are available in the second quarter following the reference year and then revised towards the end of September of the year following the year under review. Data in relation to the international investment position are produced quarterly and annually and are published three months and nine months after the end of the reporting quarter and year respectively.
Despite the change of the definition of "resident of Cyprus" in 2008 in order to align it with international standards, the statistical data published by the Central Bank of Cyprus are based on the residency definition prevailing prior to the change, whereby only organisations or enterprises with a physical presence in Cyprus are considered as “residents of Cyprus”. The reason why the specific data publication practice is followed is to maintain consistency with the definition of residency used by the Statistical Service of Cyprus in the compilation of national accounts.