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Issue 15. Accruing interest in the SNA

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Description of the issue
Through the 1990s and into the 2000s a vigorous discussion was conducted among the international statistical community about the appropriate way to record interest on securities such as bonds. Two general approaches were identified in the discussion, the so-called debtor and creditor approaches.

The ISWGNA established an Electronic Discussion Group (EDG) in 1999 to obtain the views of a broad group of users and compilers on how macroeconomic statistics should record the accrual of interest on bonds and other tradable debt securities. The moderator of the EDG provided a report in October 2002 that concluded that while the participants to the EDG were strongly divided, the majority were in favour of the debtor approach. The ISWGNA subsequently considered the report and supported its conclusion. It then made a recommendation to the UNSC proposing that the SNA should recommend the debtor approach and the UNSC agreed. The recommendation and descriptions of the two approaches can be found in paragraphs 17.252 to 17.254.

Discussion of certain update issues, including the treatment of concessional loans, non-performing loans, interest on index-linked debt securities and interest in arrears, showed that the debtor/creditor debate has implications beyond the recording of interest on securities. A full consideration of the definition of income in the SNA would have to reconsider this issue.
Discussions on the issue
The issue still needs to be addressed.

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