Balance sheets

Financial balance sheets for the institutional sectors

The outstanding amounts of assets and liabilities resulting from the Bundesbank’s financial accounts can be presented in the form of financial balance sheets for the institutional sectors. One variant of these balance sheets that complies with the IMF’s Special Data Dissemination Standard Plus requirements can be found under “Tables”.

Additionally, the data are used in the compilation of annual integrated balance sheets. Alongside financial assets and liabilities, these balance sheets contain additional data on non-financial assets, which are calculated by the Federal Statistical Office as part of the national accounts data on the real economy.

They essentially comprise all produced and non-produced non-financial assets, such as real estate, machinery and equipment and land. The stock of durables (in particular durable consumer goods such as cars) is also included in the household sector’s balance sheet, thus providing a comprehensive picture of the sectoral and overall asset situation.

Distributional Wealth Accounts (DWA) with the national accounts statistic

The Distributional Wealth Accounts (DWA) represent a new experimental dataset that combines two data perspectives: namely, they link the Bundesbank’s Panel on Household Finances (PHF) with the national accounts statistics. These statistics are now also available for other euro area countries. The DWA now enable analyses to be carried out at the household level. Differences in the development of the wealth situation along the wealth distribution are now more visible.

Experts from the European System of Central Banks collaborating in various expert groups have, since 2015, endeavoured to link the data from household surveys with the national accounts statistics for the household sector within a consistent analytical framework, thereby closing existing data gaps. Ultimately, the dataset resulting from the work of the expert groups contains valuable information from both sets of statistics: it takes into account the distributional information from the household wealth survey at the individual household level, as well as the quarterly dynamics and levels of the national accounts statistics for the period since 2011. In this context, the DWA record level data on the basis of various households for the following types of assets and liabilities: deposits, debt securities, listed shares, investment funds, insurance claims, financial and non-financial business wealth, housing wealth and liabilities in the form of mortgages and other debt. The net wealth of a household is ultimately calculated as the difference between total assets and liabilities. 

The data from the DWA indicate that there are significant differences in the composition of households’ wealth along the wealth distribution. For example, the assets held by households in the bottom half of the distribution consist almost exclusively of low-risk forms of investment, such as deposits and insurance claims. By contrast, the wealth structure of more wealthy households includes a much greater volume of capital market instruments and, above all, housing and business wealth. The DWA for the household sector also show a high level of overall wealth inequality, although this has declined slightly over the last years. The reason for this is that net wealth has grown particularly strongly for households in the bottom half of the wealth distribution, albeit from a low level. When assessing the impact of monetary policy, it may generally be helpful to bear in mind the financial differences between households, as the effectiveness of monetary policy measures depends, amongst other things, on the distribution and structure of wealth. It is precisely against this backdrop that the future provision of the DWA seems of particular interest to central banks.