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The sum of the cross-border balances on merchandise trade, services trade, investment income and transfers.
It is a record of the value of New Zealand's transactions in goods, services, income, and transfers with the rest of the world, and the changes in New Zealand's financial claims on (assets) and liabilities to the rest of the world. The Balance of Payments statement comprises the current and capital accounts (which record the value of New Zealand's transactions in goods, services, income, and transfers with non-residents) and the financial account (which records financial transactions involving New Zealand's transactions with non-residents).
For more information, see the Statistics NZ website, especially its Infoshare section. The RBNZ also summarises the great detail Statistcs NZ publishes down to its essential elements - see RBNZ data series A4.
The Capital Account spikes in 2010 to 2012 relate to the receiving of earthquake insurance (reinsurance) payments.
This whole data set was subject to major revisions and updates in September 2013 by Statistics NZ. All data has now been revised to the new set.