Capital Flow Data – A Guide for Empirical Analysis and Real-Time Tracking

IMF WP/20/171

47 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2020

See all articles by Robin Koepke

Robin Koepke

International Monetary Fund

Simon Paetzold

Goethe University Frankfurt

Date Written: August 21, 2020


This paper provides an analytical overview of the most widely used capital flow datasets. The paper is written as a guide for academics who embark on empirical research projects and for policymakers who need timely information on capital flow developments to inform their decisions. We address common misconceptions about capital flow data and discuss differences between high-frequency proxies for portfolio flows. In a nowcasting “horse race” we show that high-frequency proxies have significant predictive content for portfolio flows from the balance of payments (BoP). We also construct a new dataset for academic use, consisting of monthly portfolio flows broadly consistent with BoP data.

Keywords: portfolio flows, fund flows, balance of payments, coincident indicators

JEL Classification: F21, F32, F37, G15

Suggested Citation

Koepke, Robin and Paetzold, Simon, Capital Flow Data – A Guide for Empirical Analysis and Real-Time Tracking (August 21, 2020). IMF WP/20/171, Available at SSRN: or

Robin Koepke (Contact Author)

International Monetary Fund ( email )

United States

Simon Paetzold

Goethe University Frankfurt ( email )

Grüneburgplatz 1
Frankfurt am Main, 60323

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