Balance of payments

Published: 1/2/2015 Modified: 29/3/2024

The balance of payments of the Republic of Croatia is a systematic overview of the value of economic transactions executed between Croatian residents and non-residents within a particular time period. It is compiled in accordance with the methodology recommended by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and adopted by the EU. Accordingly, the tables in this section present the data for the period from the year 2000 onwards, according to the methodology described in the sixth (6th) edition of the IMF's Balance of Payments Manual (BPM6).

The balance of payments of the Republic of Croatia is compiled and published on a quarterly basis, three months after the end of the reporting quarter. With the first release, the data obtain the preliminary status and are expected to be revised during the subsequent releases as additional information becomes available. Moreover, the past data are always subject to revisions due to occasional corrections on the side of the data sources as well as due to the regular updating of the reporting samples.

Release of statistical data on the balance of payments, gross external debt position and international investment position for the first quarter of 2024

Methodology - balance of payments

Published: 30/6/2023

Table H1 Balance of payments – summary
Table H2 Balance of payments – goods and services
Table H3 Balance of payments – primary and secondary income
Table H4 Balance of payments – direct and portfolio investments
Table H5 Balance of payments – other investment

The balance of payments of the Republic of Croatia represents a systematic overview of the value of economic transactions performed by the Croatian residents with non-residents within a particular period. From 1993 until the end of 2013, the balance of payments was compiled in accordance with the methodology recommended by the International Monetary Fund in the fifth edition of its Balance of Payments Manual (BPM5), while starting from 2014, the balance of payments is compiled according to the sixth edition of that manual (BPM6). Also, with the beginning of the implementation of BPM6, the balance of payments historical data for 2000–2013 have been revised in line with the new methodology.

Data sources include:1) estimates and statistical research carried out by the Croatian National Bank; 2) special reports of the Croatian National Bank (International Transaction Reporting System (ITRS), monetary statistics, securities statistics and reserve assets); and 3) reports of the government institutions (Croatian Bureau of Statistics, Ministry of Finance, Croatian Health Insurance Fund and Croatian Pension Insurance Institute).

Balance of payments of the Republic of Croatia data are reported in euros (EUR). Since the original data are reported in different currencies, the transaction values are converted from the original currency into the reporting currency by applying the exchange rate from the CNB exchange rate list in one of the following manners:

  • by applying the midpoint exchange rate on the date of the transaction;
  • by applying the average monthly or quarterly midpoint exchange rate in the case the transaction date is not available;
  • by applying the end-of-period exchange rate for the calculation of a change in the transaction value between the two periods; the end-of-period balances reported in the original currency serve as a basis for calculating the change in the original currency value, which is converted, by applying the average midpoint exchange rate in the observed period, into the value of change in the reporting currency.

The report of the Croatian Bureau of Statistics on foreign trade in goods of the Republic of Croatia represents the basic data source for the balance of payments items related to exports and imports. With the accession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union on 1 July 2013, data on the foreign trade in goods of the Republic of Croatia are obtained from two different sources: Intrastat forms for collecting statistics on the trade in goods between EU member states (Intrastat) and the Single Administration Document for collecting statistics on the trade in goods with non-EU member states (Extrastat). These data are adjusted, in accordance with the recommended compilation method, for coverage and classification. Therefore, imports and exports carried out by non-residents should be excluded from the CBS’s data on foreign trade in goods. Also, in line with the methodology, goods exports and imports in the balance of payments are reported at f.o.b. parity. The value of exports at this parity is already contained in the previously mentioned CBS Report, whereas the value of imports f.o.b. was until 2007 estimated on the basis of research studies of the CNB on the stratified sample of importers. The resulting value served as a basis for the estimate of the share of transportation and insurance services by which the original value of imports c.i.f., stated in the CBS Report, was reduced. In the 1993–2001 period, this share stood at 7.10% (estimated only on the basis of the largest and large importers), while from 2002 on it has amounted to 3.73%. The same research study, conducted by the CNB at the end of 2006 (comprising the imports in the previous year), showed that the share of transportation and insurance costs, after continuing to decrease, has reached 3.03%. This share was first applied in the calculation for the first quarter of 2007. For the sake of greater reliability, the c.i.f./f.o.b. coefficient as of 2011 started to be estimated based on the available CBS data on goods imports. The shares of transportation and insurance services have been calculated separately for each year, starting with 2008, based on the goods imported at f.o.b. parity and similar parities. The estimated coefficient amounted to 4.1% for 2008, 4.4% for 2009 and 4.7% for 2010. The figure is estimated again in the same manner for each following year. The treatment of fuel and other goods included in the supply of foreign transport equipment in Croatia or of domestic transport equipment abroad remains unchanged, i.e. within goods exports and imports. As from the second quarter of 2019, the goods imports data have been modified by the data on the imports of used cars by natural persons from EU countries that are not covered by the Intrastat reporting system. The imports of goods has been revised starting from 2013.

Since 1999, based on the Survey on Consumption of Foreign Travellers in Croatia and Domestic Travellers Abroad, the item of goods exports has been modified by the estimated value of goods sold to foreign travellers and tourists and taken out of the Republic of Croatia. The item of goods imports is adjusted for the estimated value of goods imported personally by the Croatian citizens from the neighbouring countries (shopping expenditures). This treatment is also in compliance with BPM6.

Starting from 2014, imports and exports of goods for cross-border processing are monitored by the CNB under a special statistical research since, for the balance of payments purposes, the goods which do not involve a change in ownership are excluded from the CBS data on the foreign trade in goods of the Republic of Croatia. The results of this statistical research are compared and supplemented by the CBS data on imports and exports of goods for processing which do not involve a change in ownership. The value of goods which do not involve a change in ownership between residents and non-residents (quasi transit) is also excluded from the CBS data on the foreign trade in goods of the Republic of Croatia. In addition, imports and exports of goods include transactions between residents and non-residents, taking place in the territory of the Republic of Croatia.

BPM6 changes the treatment of personal property carried by persons who change residence. Such transfers of goods are not included in the BOP statistics in line with the criteria that the ownership of goods remains unchanged.

Goods under merchanting are recorded on a gross basis as a separate item in the Goods account. Merchanting includes the value of the goods that are traded without crossing the customs border of the merchant and are instead bought and then sold abroad. The acquisition of goods by merchants is shown as a negative export of the economy of the merchant, while the sale of goods is shown as a positive export of the economy of the merchant. It is possible that net exports of goods under merchanting are negative in a certain period. Merchanting is recorded at transaction prices, rather than f.o.b. values and only in the economy of the merchant. Starting from 1 January 2011, data on the net value and commissions and other income from merchanting are collected through a statistical research on revenue and expenditure on foreign trade in services. As BPM6 recommends reporting on a gross basis, the survey questionnaire used in the research has been adjusted to a gross basis starting from 2014.

Under BPM6 non-monetary gold is shown separately from other goods because of its special role in financial markets.

Transportation, travel and other services are reported separately under the services account. Revenues and expenditures on the basis of transportation, in the 1993–1998 period, were adopted from the ITRS. From 1999 on, revenues and expenditures arising from transportation of goods and passengers, as well as the value of accompanying services, which together constitute the total value of these services, are compiled on the basis of the results of the Statistical research on international transportation services, carried out by the CNB. Owing to an exceptionally large population of road carriers, revenues and expenditures on the basis of road freight transportation are not adopted from that research. They are compiled by using ITRS data. As of January 2011, due to the abolishment of the ITRS, this item has been complied on the basis of data from export customs declarations of the CBS and estimates of the Road Freight Transporters Association. Expenditures on the basis of road freight transportation equal transportation and insurance costs related to imports of goods which belong to non-residents and which are estimated by adjusting the value of imports at c.i.f. parity to the value of imports f.o.b.

Revenues from services rendered to foreign travellers and tourists, as well as expenditures incurred by domestic travellers and tourists abroad are shown under the positions Travel. In the 1993–1998 period, these positions were assessed by using various data sources. However, since the available sources for this period do not provide for a full coverage in accordance with the recommended methodology, for the 1999–2002 period, the Survey on Consumption of Foreign Travellers in Croatia and Domestic Travellers Abroad is used for these assessments, which the CNB has carried out since the second half of 1998. The data on the average consumption of travellers from this source, which is the result of the survey of travellers (stratified sample) at border crossings, have been combined with the Ministry of the Interior and Central Bureau of Statistics data on the number of foreign and domestic travellers, in order to assess the total consumption of foreign travellers in the RC and of domestic travellers abroad in the mentioned period. For the following period, 2003–2012, the balance of payments data on revenues on the position Travel are not computed using the described standard methodological combination of volume indicators and estimated average consumption from the Survey on Consumption of Foreign Travellers, but for the sake of greater reliability of the estimate for this period on the revenues side an econometric estimation method is applied, developed by the CNB. The indicators of the Ministry of the Interior and the CBS, as well as other relevant variables, are used as input data for this econometric estimate. Finally, for the period from 2013 on, the data on revenues and expenditures on the positions Travel are recalculated as the multiple of the indicators of the number of travellers and the corresponding survey indicators of their average consumption. The Ministry of the Interior data and the results of the CNB's Survey on Consumption of Travellers serve as the main source of data for this calculation. Starting from 2020, as a result of aggravated conditions for the survey of travellers at border crossings due to the coronavirus pandemic, which have reduced the statistical reliability of computed average consumption, travel revenues are calculated by the method that uses data on card consumption by non-residents (foreigners and Croatian citizens living outside the RC) from the CNB's payment statistics and data on the use of cash and cards for payment transactions from the fiscalised consumption statistics of the Ministry of Finance - Tax Administration. The scope of the use of Tax Administration data is limited to fiscalised consumption statistics' data on only three divisions of NACE Rev. 2: retail trade, accommodation and food and beverage service activities.

Other services position is compiled by using different data sources: apart from revenues and expenditures related to insurance services and communication and construction services, which have been determined by the CNB special statistical research since 2001, the values of all other services were adopted from the ITRS until the end of 2010, when the reporting by transaction types was abolished. As of 2011, the uniform statistical survey is used for estimating the position of Other services, which encompasses 30 different types of services, the classification of which is prescribed by the IMF’s Balance of Payments Manual, 6th edition. That survey also includes communication services, as a result of which a special survey on communication services was abolished, while insurance and construction services continued to be monitored through separate surveys.

With the transition to BPM6, the services account includes also manufacturing services on goods owned by others, the most important part of which is processing of goods. In addition, it also covers assembly, labelling, packing and similar services undertaken by entities that do not own the goods concerned. Under BPM6, the balance of payments includes only the net value of the service, including a fee related to finishing, and not the value of the goods themselves. Such services are monitored in the Survey on foreign trade in services (US-PB) starting from 2011. As of 2014, a separate statistical research was introduced to monitor imports and exports of goods for finishing and processing and the related services. CBS data on imports and exports of goods are used to identify enterprises that receive/provide processing services.

Starting from 2011, maintenance and repair services are monitored separately in the Statistical research on revenue and expenditure on foreign trade in services.

A novelty introduced under BPM6 with regard to financial services is the inclusion of financial intermediation services indirectly measured (FISIM), which means that a part of investment income is reclassified from Primary income to Services. It involves income of financial institutions which exceeds the reference interest rate. The reference rate is the rate that contains no service element; the rate prevailing for interbank borrowing and lending is a suitable choice as a reference rate. FISIM for loans is the margin between lending rate and funding costs calculated on the basis of the reference rate. For deposits, FISIM is the margin between the interest rate calculated on the basis of the reference rate and the interest payable to depositors. BPM6 takes into account only FISIM of financial corporations and only on loans and deposits in their balance sheets (money market funds and investment funds do not produce FISIM). In our case, FISIM is calculated in full conformity with international methodology.

Transactions in the income account are classified into four main groups.

Compensation of employees item was compiled on the basis of the ITRS until the end of 2010, when the reporting by transaction types was abolished. As of 2011, this position on the revenues side is estimated by a model based on the aggregate data of banks on inflows of resident natural persons from non-residents. On the expenditures side, the existing surveys on services are used, containing a part which relates to compensation of employees paid to non-residents and a separate survey on income paid to non-residents for institutions not included in the survey sample.

Income from direct investment, portfolio investment and other investment is reported separately. Data on reinvested earnings are reported separately, under direct investment income, calculated on the basis of the CNB Statistical research on direct and other equity investment. In contrast to data on dividends, data on reinvested earnings are not available for the 1993–1996 period, since at that time they were not reported separately. From the first quarter of 2009 on, international standards are applied in the statistical monitoring of reinvested earnings, meaning that reinvested earnings are reported on a quarterly basis, i.e. in the period in which the profit is actually earned. Previously, reinvested earnings were reported in the month in which the decision on the distribution of the previous year’s profit was adopted, meaning that they were based on the profit earned in the preceding year. On the basis of statistical data on external debt relations, starting from 1997, income from direct investment includes data on interest arising from credit relations between residents and non-residents directly related through ownership. A novelty introduced by BPM6 is that it distinguishes three types of direct investment income:

  • direct investor’s investment in direct investment enterprise;
  • reverse investment (refers to liabilities of direct investors to their direct investment enterprises and claims of direct investment enterprises on their direct investors); and
  • investments between fellow enterprises (investment income flows between all fellow enterprises that belong to the same direct investor).

One should bear in mind that dividends, withdrawals from income of quasi-corporations, and interest can apply for any of these types of investment income. There are no reinvested earnings on reverse investments and investments between fellow enterprises because the 10% equity threshold has not been met.

BPM6 introduces a term of “superdividends”. Superdividends are described as payments by corporations to their shareholders that are not a result of regular business activities over the business year for which regular dividends are paid out. By definition, superdividends are most similar to payments to shareholders based on reinvested earnings from the previous years. Such payments should be treated as withdrawals of equity, and should not be recorded in the primary income account. This principle has been applied for some time in Croatia so that the implementation of BPM6 has not led to changes in the statistical treatment of such payments.

Income from equity portfolio investment is compiled on the basis of the same survey, whereas data on debt portfolio investment income have been compiled since 1999, based on statistics on foreign credit relations, which also encompasses income related to debt securities owned by non-residents. Income from other investments includes the calculation of interest in accordance with the foreign credit relations statistics. The methodology for compiling the statistics on debt investment income was changed in 2007 to include the reporting of income on an accrual basis. This basically means that income from debt investment and interest income are reported at the point in time when they accrue and not at the point in time when they mature or when they are paid. As a result, the historical data for the 1999–2006 period have been revised. Under the methodology, income on equity securities continues to include only dividends, while estimate of reinvested earnings for this type of income is not envisaged.

According to BPM6, interest is reported without FISIM, while the value of FISIM is presented within financial services.

Secondary income is reported separately for the general government sector and other sectors.

The ITRS was used as the main data source on current transfers for both sectors until the end of 2010, when the reporting by transaction types was abolished. As of 2011, transfers of the general government sector are recorded on the basis of the data of the Ministry of Finance and the Croatian Pension Insurance Administration in the case of pensions paid out to non-residents. In addition to taxes and excise duties, pensions, gifts and donations, which are included in current transfers of both sectors, the general government sector also encompasses data on multilateral cooperation, whereas other sectors include data on workers’ remittances. As of 2011, the position of workers’ remittances and gifts and donations for other sectors is estimated through a model based on aggregate data of banks on inflows of resident natural persons from abroad and outflows of resident natural persons abroad. As from the second quarter of 2019, workers' remittances include the estimated share of workers' remittances that bypass the formal transfer channels, such as banking payment transactions and money transfer operators. For this informal part of workers' remittances (cash money transfers), the data time series starting from 2000 has been revised. Pensions from abroad are estimated on the basis of the available data of the Croatian Pension Insurance Administration. Furthermore, other sector transfers are supplemented by the data from the survey on trade in international services, containing a special part for possible transfers from and to foreign countries. Current transfers of the general government sector also include data on exports and imports of goods without a payment obligation, provided by the CBS. From 2002 on, inflows and outflows based on current transfers of other sectors are supplemented by the data of the CNB special statistical research on international transactions related to insurance services. Funds received from EU funds are reported in the current account or in the capital account in line with the type of transaction and on the basis of the data of the Ministry of Finance. BPM6 does not bring novelties in terms of content to this part of the balance of payments. In terms of presentation, workers’ remittances are not compiled as a separate item, but become a part of personal transfers together with other personal transfers. Until the end of 2010, capital transfers in the capital account were based on the ITRS. From the beginning of 2011 onwards, the account of capital transfers is compiled on the basis of the data of the Ministry of Finance and the survey data on services trade and special transactions with foreign countries. Data on the potential debt forgiveness are also a constituent part of the capital account. Under BPM6, the results of research and development, such as patents and copyrights, are no longer treated as non-produced assets and their sale is no longer shown in the capital account, but as research and development services in the current account. Also, cross border movements of assets and liabilities of persons who change residence are no longer shown as transfers by migrants within capital transfers and are no longer balance of payments transactions. If assets involved are financial assets they are made under the “other adjustments.”

Foreign direct investments include equity capital, reinvested earnings and debt relations between ownership-related residents and non-residents. Direct investments are investments whereby a foreign owner acquires a minimum of 10% interest in equity capital of a company, regardless of whether a resident invests abroad or a non-resident invests in Croatian residents. The CNB Research on foreign direct investments started in 1997 when companies included in the survey also delivered data on direct investments for the 1993–1996 period. For the same period, no data are available on reinvested earnings and other capital under direct investment position, where all debt relations between related residents and non-residents are classified (excluding the banking sector). Such data actually became available only after the stated research had been launched. Since 1999, data on debt relations within direct investments have been collected on the basis of external debt relations statistics. A research on the purchase and sale of the real estate by non-residents on the territory of the Republic of Croatia has been carried out since 2007. Persons obliged to submit reports are the public notaries who learn about these transactions in the course of their business. Data on the purchase and sale of the real estate by Croatian residents abroad were compiled on the basis of the ITRS until its abolishment in late 2010. From 2011 on, data on the purchase and sale of the real estate by Croatian non-residents abroad are compiled on the basis of the Report on the real estate trade abroad. These purchase and sale transactions are also a constituent part of direct investments.

In addition, under BPM6, direct investment is further divided into:

  • direct investment in direct investment enterprises;
  • investment in direct investor (reverse investment); and
  • investment between horizontally linked enterprises (fellow enterprises).

Reverse investment arises when a direct investment enterprise acquires equity in its investor, provided it does not own equity comprising 10% or more of the voting power in that direct investor, otherwise a new direct investment would arise. It also includes debt investment in the reverse direction. Investments between fellow enterprises are equity investments between enterprises which are linked by indirect ownership, also up to 10%, or debt investments between such enterprises. It should be noted for fellow enterprises that this type of investment has been reported within the external debt statistics since 2009. From 2014 on, it is possible to identify such investment also within the Research on direct and other equity investment.

According to BPM6 all debt relations between two affiliated financial intermediaries are treated in the same manner – outside direct investment, i.e. within other or portfolio investment.

BPM6 introduces the concept of “quasi-corporations”, which refers to corporations producing goods and services in a foreign economy without being a separate legal entity in that economy. Types of quasi-corporations include: branches, notional resident units, multiterritory enterprises, joint ventures, partnerships, etc. In Croatia, branches have been monitored separately within direct investment as of 2005.

Data on equity portfolio investments are collected from the same data source as the data on direct equity investments. Debt portfolio investments include all investments in short-term and long-term debt securities that cannot be classified under direct investments. In the 1997–1998 period, these data were collected through the CNB Research on direct and portfolio investments, and since 1999 data on external debt relations and monetary statistics data for bank investment have been used. Starting from 2002 and 2004, this position has also been compiled for investment funds and pension funds, respectively. Since 2009, these positions have been modified by the statistics on trade in equity and debt securities submitted by the Central Depository and Clearing Company, credit institutions and investment firms providing securities custody services. Portfolio investments are modified by these data in the parts not fully covered by the existing research. Data for the 2006–2009 period have also been revised. As a result, from 2006 on, the balance of payments includes data on debt securities issued by domestic issuers and traded by non-residents in the domestic market (portfolio investment, debt securities on the liabilities side). It should be noted that this approach is already applied in relation to securities issued by our residents abroad and that the amount of debt generated in this manner is reduced by the amount repurchased by residents.

From the first quarter of 2010, the balance of payments includes the transactions arising from the concluded contracts which have features of financial derivatives. Reporting institutions are commercial banks and other financial institutions. In addition, the reporting population has been extended as of the fourth quarter of 2012 to include non-financial institutions which enter into these transactions mainly to hedge against changing market conditions.

Other investment encompasses all other debt investments that have not been mentioned, apart from investment constituting reserve assets. Other investments are classified by instruments, maturity and sectors.

In addition, BPM6 defines a position of Other equity investment, which implies equity investments that do not meet the criteria for direct investment, portfolio investment or international reserve assets. Other equity investment is never in the form of securities, in contrast to portfolio investment. As the ownership of many international organisations is not in the form of securities, it is classified as other equity. In most cases, equity in quasi-corporations, such as branches or notional units for ownership of real estate and other natural resources is included in direct investment, but if the share accounts for less than 10% in the equity it is classified to other equity investment.

Currency and deposit position shows residents’ claims on foreign countries for foreign cash and deposits with foreign banks, as well as obligations of the Croatian banks for deposits owned by non-residents. Monetary statistics represent a data source for the general government sector and other monetary financial institutions. Data on balance and currency structure of foreign assets and liabilities, contained in monetary statistics, are used to assess transactions from which the exchange rate effect was eliminated. In the 1993–1998 period, data on other sectors’ claims under this position were compiled on the basis of the CNB estimate of a portion of net foreign currency inflows of the household sector which is not classified under current transfers. Since 1999, this position has included only the data based on the Bank for International Settlements quarterly data, while data in the fourth quarter of 2001 and in the first two quarters of 2002 also relate to the effect of the EMU countries’ currencies changeover to the euro. Data for the fourth quarter of 2008 were modified by estimates of currency and deposit withdrawals from the financial system driven by fears of the effects of the global financial crisis.

Credits granted by residents to non-residents and foreign loans utilised by residents and granted by non-residents, which cannot be classified into direct investments or trade credits, are classified by the institutional sector and maturity under the corresponding positions of other investment. The CNB foreign credit relations statistics represent the data source for these positions.

Trade credits in the 1996–2002 period included the CNB estimates of advance payment and deferred payments made on the basis of the sample of the largest and large importers and exporters. Data on advance payments have been estimated since 1996, while data on short-term deferred payments (first up to 90 days, then up to 150 days, and today from 8 days to 1 year) have been collected since 1999. In 2003, this research was replaced by a new one, where the selected companies, regardless of their size (stratified sample), are obliged to submit data. Data on deferred payments with the original maturity of more than one year are adopted from the CNB foreign credit relations statistics.

Item Other investment – Other claims and liabilities includes other claims and liabilities not included in trade credits and other financial instruments, among others, prepayments of premiums and reserves for outstanding claims for non-life insurance, entitlements of beneficiaries under life insurance policies and pension schemes and provisions for calls under standardised guarantees. This position is compiled on the basis of data submitted by insurance companies and includes changes in life insurance mathematical reserves.

The allocation of SDRs to IMF members is shown as the incurrence of a liability by the recipient and included in other investment (SDR position) with a corresponding increase of SDRs in reserve assets. Other acquisitions and disposals of SDRs are shown as transactions in reserve assets.

The sector classification of the portfolio and other investment involves the sector classification of residents according to ESA 2010 and SNA 2008 and is fully harmonised with the sector classification of the gross external debt by domestic sectors and the international investment position. The general government sector includes central government, social security funds and local government. The sector of the central bank includes the Croatian National Bank. The sector of other monetary financial institutions comprises credit institutions and money market funds. Other domestic sectors comprise all financial institutions and intermediaries except the central bank and other monetary financial institutions (including the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development), private and public non-financial corporations, non-profit institutions and households, including craftsmen.

In the period from 1993 to 1998, the estimate of reserve assets transactions was made by converting the changes in the original currencies into the US dollars by applying the average monthly exchange rate of the currencies contained in the reserves. Since 1999, the changes in reserve assets balance have been calculated on the basis of the CNB accounting data.

From the first quarter of 2013, data on transactions carried out by the International Reserves and Foreign Exchange Liquidity Department of the Croatian National Bank represent the data source for this position.