Financial Terms
Balance of payments

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Definition of Balance of payments

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Balance of payments

A statistical compilation formulated by a sovereign nation of all economic transactions
between residents of that nation and residents of all other nations during a stipulated period of time, usually a
calendar year.

Balance of Payments

The difference between the demand for and supply of a country's currency on the foreign exchange market.

Related Terms:

Balance of Payments Accounts

A statement of a country's transactions with other countries.

Basic balance

In a balance of payments, the basic balance is the net balance of the combination of the current
account and the capital account.

Counterpart items

In the balance of payments, counterpart items are analogous to unrequited transfers in the
current account. They arise because the double-entry system in balance of payments accounting and refer to
adjustments in reserves owing to monetization or demonetization of gold, allocation or cancellation of SDRs,
and revaluation of the various components of total reserves.

Net errors and omissions

In balance of payments accounting, net errors and omissions record the statistical
discrepancies that arise in gathering balance of payments data.

Other capital

In the balance of payments, other capital is a residual category that groups all the capital
transactions that have not been included in direct investment, portfolio investment, and reserves categories. It
is divided into long-term capital and short-term capital and, because of its residual status, can differ from
country to country. Generally speaking, other long-term capital includes most non-negotiable instruments of a
year or more like bank loans and mortgages. Other short-term capital includes financial assets of less than a
year such as currency, deposits, and bills.

Unilateral transfers

Items in the current account of the balance of payments of a country's accounting books
that corresponds to gifts from foreigners or pension payments to foreign residents who once worked in the
country whose balance of payments is being considered.

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Capital Account

That part of the balance of payments accounts that records demands for and supplies of a currency arising from purchases or sales of assets.

Current Account

That part of the balance of payments accounts that records demands for and supplies of a currency arising from activities that affect current income, namely imports, exports, investment income payments such as interest and dividends, and transfers such as gifts, pensions, and foreign aid.

Official Settlements Account

An account within the balance of payments accounts showing the change in a country's official foreign exchange reserves. It is used to measure a balance of payments deficit or surplus.


Central bank action offsetting money supply changes automatically generated by a balance of payments surplus or deficit under a fixed exchange rate system.

Balance of trade

Net flow of goods (exports minus imports) between countries.

Balance sheet

Also called the statement of financial condition, it is a summary of the assets, liabilities, and
owners' equity.

Balance sheet exposure

See:accounting exposure.

Balance sheet identity

Total Assets = Total Liabilities + Total Stockholders' Equity

Balanced fund

An investment company that invests in stocks and bonds. The same as a balanced mutual fund.

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Balanced mutual fund

This is a fund that buys common stock, preferred stock and bonds. The same as a
balanced fund.

Clearing House Automated Payments System (CHAPS)

A computerized clearing system for sterling funds
that began operations in 1984. It includes 14 member banks, nearly 450 participating banks, and is one of the
clearing companies within the structure of the Association for Payment Clearing Services (APACS).

Clearing House Interbank Payments System (CHIPS)

An international wire transfer system for high-value
payments operated by a group of major banks.

Compensating balance

An excess balance that is left in a bank to provide indirect compensation for loans
extended or services provided.

Coupon payments

A bond's interest payments.

Double-declining-balance depreciation

Method of accelerated depreciation.

Interest payments

Contractual debt payments based on the coupon rate of interest and the principal amount.

Lag response of prepayments

There is typically a lag of about three months between the time the weighted
average coupon of an MBS pool has crossed the threshold for refinancing and an acceleration in prepayment
speed is observed.

Net cash balance

Beginning cash balance plus cash receipts minus cash disbursements.

Off-balance-sheet financing

Financing that is not shown as a liability in a company's balance sheet.

Payments netting

Reducing fund transfers between affiliates to only a netted amount. Netting can be done on
a bilateral basis (between pairs of affiliates), or on a multi-lateral basis (taking all affiliates together).

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Payments pattern

escribes the lagged collection pattern of receivables, for instance the probability that a
72-day-old account will still be unpaid when it is 73-days-old.


payments made in excess of scheduled mortgage principal repayments.

Receivables balance fractions

The percentage of a month's sales that remain uncollected (and part of
accounts receivable) at the end of succeeding months.

Remaining principal balance

The amount of principal dollars remaining to be paid under the mortgage as of
a given point in time.

Target cash balance

Optimal amount of cash for a firm to hold, considering the trade-off between the
opportunity costs of holding too much cash and the trading costs of holding too little cash.

Zero-balance account (ZBA)

A checking account in which zero balance is maintained by transfers of funds
from a master account in an amount only large enough to cover checks presented.


A “snapshot” statement that freezes a company on a particular day, like the last day of the year, and shows the balances in its asset, liability, and stockholders’ equity accounts. It’s governed by the formula:
Assets = Liabilities + Stockholders’ Equity.

Declining balance

An accelerated depreciation method that calculates depreciation each year by applying a fixed rate to the asset’s book (cost–accumulated depreciation) value. Depreciation stops when the asset’s book value reaches its salvage value.

Balanced Scorecard

A system of non-financial performance measurement that links innovation, customer and process measures to financial performance.

Balance Sheet

A financial statement showing the financial position of a business – its assets, liabilities and
capital – at the end of an accounting period.

Balance Sheet

One of the basic financial statements; it lists the assets, liabilities, and equity accounts of the company. The balance Sheet is prepared using the balances at the end of a specific day.


A method of depreciation.

Trial balance

A listing of all the accounts and their balances on a specified day.

balance sheet

A term often used instead of the more formal and correct
term—statement of financial condition. This financial statement summarizes
the assets, liabilities, and owners’ equity sources of a business at a
given moment in time. It is prepared at the end of each profit period and
whenever else it is needed. It is one of the three primary financial statements
of a business, the other two being the income statement and the
statement of cash flows. The values reported in the balance sheet are the
amounts used to determine book value per share of capital stock. Also,
the book value of an asset is the amount reported in a business’s most
recent balance sheet.

balanced scorecard (BSC)

an approach to performance
measurement that weighs performance measures from four
perspectives: financial performance, an internal business
perspective, a customer perspective, and an innovation and
learning perspective

Balance sheet

A report that summarizes all assets, liabilities, and equity for a company
for a given point in time.

balance sheet

Financial statement that shows the value of the
firm’s assets and liabilities at a particular time.

common-size balance sheet

balance sheet that presents items as a percentage of total assets.

market-value balance sheet

Financial statement that uses the market value of all assets and liabilities.

zero-balance account

Regional bank account to which just enough funds are transferred daily to pay each day’s bills.

Balance of Merchandise Trade

The difference between exports and imports of goods.

Balance of Trade

See balance of merchandise trade.

Balanced-Budget Multiplier

The multiplier associated with a change in government spending financed by an equal change in taxes.

On-hand balance

The quantity of inventory currently in stock, based on inventory

Projected available balance

The future planned balance of an inventory item,
based on the current balance and adjusted for planned receipts and usage.

Balance Sheet

A financial report showing the status of a company's assets, liabilities, and owners' equity on a given date.

Progress Payments

Periodic payments to a supplier, contractor or subcontractor for work satisfactorily performed to date.

Graduated-payment mortgages (GPMs)

A type of stepped-payment loan in which the borrower's payments
are initially lower than those on a comparable level-rate mortgage. The payments are gradually increased over
a predetermined period (usually 3,5, or 7 years) and then are fixed at a level-pay schedule which will be
higher than the level-pay amortization of a level-pay mortgage originated at the same time. The difference
between what the borrower actually pays and the amount required to fully amortize the mortgage is added to
the unpaid principal balance.

Negative amortization

A loan repayment schedule in which the outstanding principal balance of the loan
increases, rather than amortizing, because the scheduled monthly payments do not cover the full amount
required to amortize the loan. The unpaid interest is added to the outstanding principal, to be repaid later.

Price-specie-flow mechanism

Adjustment mechanism under the classical gold standard whereby
disturbances in the price level in one country would be wholly or partly offset by a countervailing flow of
specie (gold coins) that would act to equalize prices across countries and automatically bring international
payments back in balance.

negative cash flow

The cash flow from the operating activities of a business
can be negative, which means that its cash balance decreased from
its sales and expense activities during the period. When a business is
operating at a loss instead of making a profit, its cash outflows for
expenses very likely may be more than its cash inflow from sales. Even
when a business makes a profit for the period, its cash inflow from sales
could be considerably less than the sales revenue recorded for the
period, thus causing a negative cash flow for the period. Caution: This
term also is used for certain types of investments in which the net cash
flow from all sources and uses is negative. For example, investors in
rental real estate properties often use the term to mean that the cash
inflow from rental income is less than all cash outflows during the
period, including payments on the mortgage loan on the property.

Registered Retirement Savings Plan (Canada)

Commonly referred to as an RRSP, this is a tax sheltered and tax deferred savings plan recognized by the Federal and Provincial tax authorities, whereby deposits are fully tax deductable in the year of deposit and fully taxable in the year of receipt. The ability to defer taxes on RRSP earnings allows one to save much faster than is ordinarily possible. The new rules which apply to RRSP's are that the holder of such a plan must convert it into income by the end of the year in which the holder turns age 69. The choices for conversion are to simply cash it in an pay full tax in the year of receipt, convert it to a RRIF and take a varying stream of income, paying tax on the amount received annually until the income is exhausted, or converting it into an annuity with guaranteed payments for a chosen number of years, again paying tax each year on moneys received.
If you are currently 69 years of age, you may still contribute to your own RRSP until December 31st of this year and realize a tax deduction on this year's income. You must also, however, make provisions before December 31st of the year for converting your RRSP into either a RRIF or an annuity, otherwise, the full balance of your RRSP becomes taxable on January 1 of the following year. If you are older than age 69, still have earned income, and have a younger spouse, you may continue to contribute to a spousal RRSP until that spouse reaches 69 years of age. Contributions would be based on your own contribution level and are deducted from your taxable income.







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