Central banks require information on the behaviour patterns of economic agents in the money-issuing and money-holding sectors of the economy to be able to conduct monetary policy. The balance sheet statistics reports submitted by the financial sector in the broader sense (essentially comprising banks, collective investment vehicles such as insurers and investment companies and special purpose vehicles) constitute the necessary database. The reports can be used to observe developments in the respective sectors. Furthermore, the balance sheet items provide information on the decisions, behaviour and expectations of the money-holding sector, which consists of households, enterprises and parts of the public sector.
Since the launch of European Monetary Union, primary statistical surveys in the financial sector have been conducted on a harmonised basis. These are used, among other things, to calculate Germany's contribution to euro-area monetary aggregates, which is reported in the euro-area aggregates and the ESCB statistics.