Financial accounts

The financial accounts summarise financial flows in the economy and thereby contribute to the picture provided by the national accounts, which focus on the real economy. Among other things, they show whether, on balance, financial resources were taken up or made available and in what form (eg loans or shares). The results are presented by means of balance sheets for each individual institutional sector of the economy and are broken down by financial instrument. A distinction is also made between data on financial transactions carried out during a given reporting period (acquisition of financial assets and external financing) and the corresponding outstanding amounts at the end of that period (financial assets and liabilities).

Financial assets of households
Financial assets of households

The data is used, among other things, to analyse financial flows in an economy from a monetary policy perspective, shedding light on the investment and financing activity of enterprises and households, as well as the financial intermediaries that are involved in the economy’s financial flows. In turn, these analyses can provide information on the monetary policy transmission process, as they focus, for example, on examining shifts in financing structures, such as the relationship between lending by domestic banks and other sources of financing (eg capital markets and foreign lenders).

Diagram of the Simplified structure of the German financial system
Simplified structure of the German financial system

The financial accounts are a secondary statistics that combine data from a range of financial areas. Their methodological basis is the latest version of the European System of Accounts (ESA 2010). The Bundesbank compiles the financial accounts on a quarterly basis. The results are published regularly in press releases, its Monthly Report and in Statistical Series Financial accounts on the financial accounts for Germany, which also contains detailed methodological notes. They can also be found in the time series database on the Bundesbank’s website. Furthermore, they are passed on to the ECB, which uses these figures and the contributions of the other euro-area countries to create and publish the financial accounts for the euro area. The EU data are compiled and published by Eurostat.