Thought Leadership

Historical Financial Statistics

Welcome to Historical Financial Statistics (HFS), a free, noncommercial data set on exchange rates, central bank and commercial bank balance sheets, interest rates, money supply, inflation, international trade, government finance, national accounts, and more. Our focus is data from roughly 1500 to 1950, although we have earlier and later data. Historical Financial Statistics currently contains about 150,000 annual data points and more than 2 million higher-frequency data points. It is intended to complement a number of long-established databases whose coverage begins in the mid 20th century.

Data

Data are in Excel spreadsheets, often in Excel binary (.xlsb) format, which is only compatible with Microsoft Office 2007 and later versions. Click on the links below to download the spreadsheet workbooks. On some computers, files may download to your default download folder. Several are large and may download slowly. Data are often not repeated across tables, so if you are looking for an end of year exchange rate, for instance, start with the annual general table, and if you do not find it there, look at the monthly general table and the monthly and daily indicator tables focusing on exchange rates.

(1) General tables, showing many categories of data (one big workbook)

  • Annual data starting before 1800 (sparse data, hence a separate spreadsheet); annual data since 1800; monthly data (includes semiannual and quarterly data) (Uploaded Mar 02, 15).

(2) Indicator tables, focusing on a single category of data

  • Exchange rates
  • Interest rates:  Daily policy interest rates of central banks; daily market interest rates; annual bond yields; monthly bond yields from the interwar period (Uploaded Mar 02, 15).
  • Exchange controls (Uploaded Mar 02, 15).

(3) Additional data that do not fit into the standard templates above

Documentation

The “Data Notes” PDF file, more than 250 pages long, provides detailed background information and references for the data in Historical Financial Statistics. It also contains copyright information, a legal notice, suggestions on how to cite us, and the conditions that apply to reproducing data. (In particular, restrictions exist on reproducing data for any commercial use and for noncommercial database use, and we assume no liability for the data.) Certain other useful files are also listed below. All are in Excel or PDF.

Contact Information

The editor of Historical Financial Statistics is Kurt Schuler (kschuler@the-cfs.org), Senior Fellow in Financial History at the Center for Financial Stability.

Acknowledgments

The data in Historical Financial Statistics are available thanks to the generosity of many researchers. For a full list, see the “Data Notes” file. For the latest update, we thank in particular the following researchers:

Scholars in the South-East European Monetary History Network for data on the countries of that region: Neraida Hoxhaj, Arta Pisha, and Besa Vorpsi (Bank of Albania); Clemens Jobst and Thomas Scheiber (Oesterreichische Nationalbank); Kalina Dimitrova (Bulgarian National Bank); Martin Ivanov (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Institute for History); Sophia Lazaretou (Bank of Greece); Adriana Aloman. Elisabeta Blejan, Brînduşa Graţiela Costache, and George Virgil Stoenescu (National Bank of Romania); Ljiljana Đurđević, Branko Hinić, and Milan Šojić (National Bank of Serbia); Yüksel Görmez (Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey); Sevket Pamuk (Bogaziçi University and London School of Economics); Ali Coşkun Tunçer (University College London); Serkan Yiğit (Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey)

Sally Hills (Bank of England), Ryland Thomas (Bank of England), and Nicholas Dimsdale (Oxford University) for three centuries of data on the British economy.

Nicholas Krus (formerly Johns Hopkins University, now Warner Music) for balance sheet data from many currency boards around the world from the mid 1800s to the present.

Ewout Frankema (Wageningen University) for government finance data for many British colonies

Frankema and Marlous Van Waijenburg (Northwestern University) for wage data for a number of African countries in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Links of Interest

Sites with extensive data before the mid 20th century:
Clio Infra
CLIO World Tables (despite the similar name, separate from Clio Infra)
EH.net
European State Finance Database
Global Financial Data (unlike the other sites listed, entirely fee-based)
Global Price and Income History Group
Groningen Growth and Development Centre
International Institute of Social History
Medieval and Early Modern Data Bank
South-East European Monetary History Network

Sites whose data are predominantly or entirely since the mid 20th century:
Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED)
International Monetary Fund databases, especially International Financial Statistics (some free data, some fee-based)
Penn World Table
United Nations databases
World Bank databases, especially World Development Indicators