18 Feb 2012

BIS Transaction data 2010 : The global picture

I've already used the B.I.S. data set to get some numbers for transactions in the UK, in France and the other Eurozone countries covered, and the USA. But I didn't have the courage to extract all the data for all 23 countries. I've done it now though. It involved going the B.I.S. webpage, and downloading the 2.2 Megabyte excel file with the comparative data for the different countries.

The file has a lot of sheets in it, but only some of them are interesting for people like me who are interested in adding up the numbers for transactions values.

First there's Table 8,  which gives the total value of transactions by non-banks. In fact you can also find the breakdown according to credit transfers, direct debits, card payments, cheques and so forth.

Then there's a sheet called PS3 which details "Payments processed by selected interbaank funds transfer systems".

Next comes sheet TRS3 ("Trades executed on selected exchanges and trading system").

Then there's sheet CCP3 ("Transactions cleared by selected central counterparties and clearing houses"), and finally sheet CSD3 (Transactions processed by selected central securities depositories").

I extracted all the data and got the following breakdown for the four tables.

You can see that for 2008, the total was $9,569 trillion (a number pretty close to the one I used in my original paper back in october 2010). It's somewhat larger because they added some extra countries in the last of years.  You can also see that the number for 2010 has dropped to $7,407 trillion. But as you will see, there a reason for that.

Here's the breakdown country by country.
I've shown in red the abnormally low number for the UK in 2010. There's some 1,000 trillion missing - due essentially to the fact that our friends at LCH.Clearnet didn't provide the numbers. I think that it is safe to conclude that the real numbers for global activity in the 23 countries covered by B.I.S. are probably back up around $9,000 trillion again - especially when you take into account all the transactions that are done by agencies that were not "selected" by B.I.S. Take NYSE Liffe for example, which doesn't get covered at all. Oh well....

Having this global data is really very interesting, because you can compare the numbers with the total amount of government revenue in each country and per year. For this, I used the data from the World Bank which provides numbers as a percentage of GDP. The revenue numbers refer to "cash receipts from taxes, social contributions, and other revenues such as fines, fees, rent, and income from property or sales". In other words, pretty much everything. For some reason, the World Bank data lacks data points for a few countries, but the table below is fairly complete, at least until 2009.
As you can see, for virtually all the countries total government revenue is well under 1% of the level of transactions. And on average, the value is about 0.4%. So, there you have it. Across a wide range of economies, a 0.4% FTT should provide enough revenue to abolish all the existing forms of taxation.

And if you are lucky enough to live in a country where the levels of financial transactions are particularly high (the UK, the USA and Belgium), you might well end up paying less than 0.1%. You'd have to be mad not to vote for that...

Well, either mad, or not given the option.... 

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